Another Facebook redesign is no doubt going to frustrate people, have brands up in arms and probably throw up some privacy debate too. But Facebook has to iterate and if they didn’t recognise how things have changed, in terms of consumption of content, they risk the irrelevancy slide. They clearly do, as Robyn Morris product designer at Facebook says “The design of News Feed hasn’t changed much since 2006, but the world has,”.
Mark Zuckerberg said at the launch that he wanted Facebook to be “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” And like a newspaper editor, he wants the “front page” of Facebook to be more engaging — in particular on the smaller screens of mobile devices. (NewYorkTimes)
So its on its way. But what does it all mean? Well trawling through a few articles (sources at the bottom of this post) here seem to be some of the highlights:
Facebook Page Posts and Sponsored Stories that contain photo and video will appear 20% larger. This is obviously good for brands, they can leverage higher resolution assets and use more compelling captivating content. (the journal crunch)
The new design also includes some photo page posts being overlaid with a caption or description rather than the text appearing below, suggesting that shorter text on photo updates will be more effective. (the journal crunch)
The new look News Feed “celebrates content” in a way that the last iteration did not. One of the key thrusts of this change is the increased emphasis on the visual experience. “Photos are bigger and more visually compelling,” says global head of brand design Paul Adams. “They have always had higher than average levels of engagement so we know they’re more interesting to people.” (Marketing Week)
For both organic and paid page ‘like’ stories, the image that will be displayed in News Feed will be the brand’s cover photo, giving this more prominence. It is therefore even more important that the photo is representative of the brand. (Marketing Week)
The new Facebook design also means users will be met with the same look and feel on mobile, tablet and web. For example, the left-hand menu will be visible on any Facebook page, while users can quickly move to the top of News Feed when new stories arrive (Marketing Week)
Links shared to the site from other places like Pinterest or Quora will have bigger blurbs (techCrunch)
News Feed’s introduction of filters or feeds, enabling users to drill down to specific content. For example, users can see news from ‘All Friends’, showing everything their friends are sharing, or ‘Photos’, featuring only photos from friends and the pages users ‘like’ or ‘follow’. (Marketing Week)
This last point seems to be something that could prove problematic of businesses. As TechCrunch point out
“ If users choose to frequent that, they could be free to Like Pages to show off their interests or personalize third-party apps, but not have to see their feed updates.”
There is also some interest to see if video will play a larger role, but it is interesting to hear Facebook’s view on this:
“… with videos, people have to press play so there is a higher level of effort required – it’s more effort than viewing a picture. The reward from watching a video needs to be greater.” Paul Adams says.
It seems that this move by Facebook will have some challenges for brands, but seem to have welcomed the changes as it seems like it will increase dwell time on Facebook. Users, according to the New York Times, aren’t as happy, with suggestions that Flipboard, already offers a personalized newspaper in which users choose the topics and publications they are interested in.
Like it or not, Facebook is a giant and like all changes Facebook has made, we will all have to get our heads around them pretty quickly and find ways to make it work!
I just hope it puts a stop to all the Like and Share to win rubbish I see on my news feed all the time!
You need an hour for this, but if you are looking for some great information on Social Media ROI, put the kettle on, stick your out of office on, and listen.
Oh and its not me, its from the fantastic Altimeter Group.
Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry
Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete
Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal
Fashion retailer C&A’s Brazilian arm is doing what it can to stay on the pulse of social media. A new initiative called Fashion Like allows people to ‘like’ certain items of clothing on the company’s Facebook page, and these clicks are collated and displayed on the relevant clothes rack in real-time. Customers are thereby able to view the item’s online popularity in the real world to help them make their decision.
It’s open to debate how valuable this will be to shoppers — we’ve seen the trivial nature of much that’s posted to Facebook, not to mention the dubious fashion sense of certain denizens, and it probably wouldn’t be hard to game the data. For terminally indecisive Brazilians, however, this seems like it could be a step forward.
Case study video below (You can turn on english subtitles)
Here is a great post from Read, Write, Web about the new Facebook timeline and how consumers are interacting with Brand pages. I think some of the data is due to people “working out” how the timeline works for brands, so that could explain some of the results. Still its well worth the read:
The Facebook Timeline that brand pages were forced to switch over to last week is “flawed,” according to an eye movement study of six brand pages by SimpleUsability, with many of the new features going unnoticed or being misunderstood.
“The average user doesn’t fully understand the new layout, or interact with it in the way intended,” said Guy Redwood, managing director of SimpleUsability. “This will likely change over time, but as the mechanics of obtaining ‘Likes’ has become more difficult for brands, they now need to drive engagement more than ever.”
The study tracked user eye movements when visiting the Web-based brand pages of American Express, Pizza Hut, Coca-Cola, Gap, Coldplay and Manchester United. In addition to pointing out problems with brand pages, the study found certain features on the pages as currently designed were more important.
Here are the six big takeaways from the study for brands still working on configuring their timelines.
Cover Photos Aren’t As Important As You Think
Facebook has made a point of insisting brands can use their cover photos as opportunities, and a whole cottage industry is springing up on helping companies design cover images. But users in the study either ignored the cover images entirely or disregarded it as “advertising space.”
They also didn’t pay much attention to the profile picture or apps directly beneath a cover page. In most cases, a user’s first action when landing on the page was to scroll down and get themselves oriented with what they were viewing.
Timeline is Actually a Valuable Feature
Timeline’s biggest benefit for brands, according to the study, is the ability to tell a brand’s story. The Timeline design is particularly effective in accomplishing this online, but users also liked the ease of finding the “About” button on brand pages. In many cases, users said it was easier to learn about a brand than it was on a corporate Web site.
The Timeline Only Works if It’s Current
Users got confused if a timeline appeared to be outdated. While there is benefit in going back and filling in a corporate history, most users in the study did not look beyond one month in the Timeline’s reverse chronological hierarchy.
Users Notice When Their Friends “Like” or Interact With a Brand
The best way to get a user to interact with your brand is to get that users’ friends to interact with your brand. Users are more likely to interact with a friends’ comment about a brand that they consider timely.
More Data Needed to Measure the Effectiveness of Pinned Posts
Brands can get around the problems presented by Timeline’s reverse chronological hierarchy by “pinning” a post to the top of their Timeline. But so far, few brands are using the pin feature and, when they do, they have little impact on users, according to SimpleUsability.
Users Rarely, if Ever, Interact With Apps
That could change over time, as users get more familiar with the Timeline layout. But for now, very few users are even noticing the customizable app buttoons. When they do, it’s almost exclusively to look at photos.
Social Media Examiner is a blog always worth reading. I haven’t got through this full report yet, but it’s one for sharing. Enjoy
Mark Hillary posted this on the Huffington Post. He reminds us how, when facebook was first launched business scrambled to ban it…wasnt this the same with phones and email (no personal calls). Now companies are realising that, in fact, social is the key. And not just social media….its about being a social business. Mark references a quote from Jen McClure, the director of social media at news organization Thomson Reuters:
The term “social business” will become more ubiquitous as organizations of all types and sizes start to think of social technologies more strategically as business tools, not just marketing channels. And then it will eventually become a meaningless phrase as we come to realize that all business is, at its core, social.
As he says:
This is a complete about turn. Now executives are telling us that companies need to become more social. Of course there is a precedent for this, like the telephone calls, then email access, then the company mobile phone. New technologies are always seen as damaging to the enterprise, but end up being adopted as essential.
McClure is arguing that social media is going to fundamentally change companies and how they operate. Forget about social media being just a tool for PR or marketing or community building — it is changing every part of the enterprise, root and branch.
This is taken for granted in your personal life. So your own life really is social and connected, yet most companies still languish with CRM systems that cost millions and have never really worked. Imagine if you had the same level of knowledge about your colleagues at work, and your customers, as you have about your friends online.
Companies are just collections of people, with various skills, all attempting to pull in the same direction. Companies are social, yet we often use better tools to organize our social life than to organize how we work.
Source, Huffington Post
a reflection of our normal tendency to focus on the negative. The negative is the news. There is ample clinical research that codifies this trait, which is called Negativity Bias. Humans have a heightened physiological and psychological response to events they see as negative. Our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news.
Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily probably evolved for a good reason — to keep us out of harm’s way. The brain developed systems that would make it notice danger and hopefully, avoid it.
He goes on to talk about how McDonalds, who he holds in high regard:
They are a gold standard in terms of authentic social media outreach and connection. How many companies of their size have a team of tweeters available for one-on-one conversation? In terms of effectively “humanizing” their brand, I use them as a best practice case study in my college classes.
….recently got a lot of bad press/wom/buzz around an idea they had for twitter. They launched a hashtag #McDStories and then they invited customers to tell their favorite stories of McDonald’s experiences. But it didnt exactly go according to plan, as people began to use the hashtag to talk negatively about the brand. It soon became known as the McFail campaign.
What is interesting is that out of the 79,000 tweets (give or take a few) 2,000 were negative. So while McFail became a major story, they actually had a positive sentiment analysis of 97.5 percent! Mark contends that this is all due to negatvitiy bias.
I think an Irish example of this would be the recent issues new mobile brand 48 had over last weekend. The brand launched only about 6 weeks ago, with an incredible un-mobile network like campaign (check out the ad below).
The offer was, and still is, incredibly strong too (10 euro a month for all texts and calls). All in all this was a case study of how to do a launch. Then (potential) disaster struck, when the network went down last weekend. There was a leak somewhere that knocked the network out, apparently other networks were affected too. I think the guys at 48 did a great job on Facebook communicating with their customers.
They proactively took to the site to explain that there was a problem and that they were working on it, then they updated people throughout the day. They also let the community talk amongst themselves and stepped in to give updates or try and address specific concerns people had. My favourite response was:
Kieran – to be fair, we didn’t say the outage was caused by rain. Still working to fix the remaining issues! Alan @ 48
I’m not a customer (clearly not the demographic!) and I am sure there are people who are still a little frustrated and annoyed by the whole experience, but overall I think 48 did a good job. And this week they gave their customers the choice on how they would like to be compensated (and 1,000 people voted for a weeks free membership!)
Back to Mark Schaefer now. He warns that, due to this negativity bias, we are standing on digital quicksand.
It only takes one infinitesimal shift in customer sentiment, one outcry from a small number of passionate detractors, to dash an otherwise sterling reputation.
As we have seen many times, even an experiment that barely makes a dent in the company’s overall social footprint can overwhelm any good that is being accomplished, any sincere intentions, any attempt at innovation.
Personally or professionally, is it worth it trying anything new in the social space, even if you thought you could have a success rate of 97.5 percent? In a world where Negatively Bias is gasoline on a viral fire, and one misstep can overwhelm years of positive work cultivating raving fans, why would anybody take a risk on the social web?
That’s a tough question and it’s one that probably won’t help anyone who is trying to convince their senior management that the social web is a place for them. Yes you can get it wrong sometimes, or even things outside of your control can cause negative sentiment. But is that a reason not to be present. Surely you are better to be there and address the situation (like 48 did). Im sure McDonalds havent decided to abandon their social agenda? Maybe they have just adapted and amended things?
Negativity bias has always been there. I remember being told years ago how a bad experience in a hotel or restaurant led to the customer telling 9 of their peers, and that had a knock on effect. That hasn’t changed, excpet now people are telling 100 of their friends – really quickly. Surely you want to be there to respond?
But Pinterest has really kept me engaged. I have set up a few boards and am starting to follow people, I’m still getting started, but enjoying it. I enjoy seeing what other people pin, and yes some pins are totally irrelvant to me…so its great that I can just unfollow the pin, but still follow the person.What I find interesting is that the majority of pins I see are about Food, Fashion and Homes. It seems to be quite an aspirational place.
I am still coming to terms with it (sounds like hard work right!). I am especially wondering where brands fit in. I see that brands like Whole Foods and Martha Stewart are really popular…and I can see how that makes sense. They can post things that are useful (recipes) or things they are interested in (like homewares) and these are things that people will re-pin.
I wonder where other brands fit in? I guess there is a place and its about finding that place. Like any social network its about being relevant.
Yesterday on twitter a few of us were having a conversation about it. I said that I really liked what the National Wildlife Ferderation were doing in the US. Sarah Hughes came back and said that she thought there was greater potential for causes to use Pinterest. She suggested that they dedicate a whole pin board to telling a story and how the charity impacted on the issue. So her example for the NWF was that they could have a “pinboard dedicated to the world’s smallest chameleon (3cms!) and the Foundation’s work to protect it”
I thought this was fantastic, (I had an old lightbulb moment!!). How do you think you could or will use Pinterest…or will you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you’d like to follow me on Pinterest…here I am
If you are looking for some more information on Pinterest, here is a link to the Ultimate guide to Pinterest!
Ah yes it’s all about the 2012 predictions. I really enjoy reading these pieces so hope you don’t mind me sharing. The good news is, these aren’t my predictions, so probably have some chance of coming through. These are from David Armano EVP, Global Innovation & Integration, at Edelman Digital, posted on Harvard Business Review….so pretty good stuff!
Each year at this time, I look forward and predict trends in social media for the coming year. But first, I look back at mypredictions from last year. How’d I do? Not bad.
Social media continues to move forward toward business integration, a trend that I identified last year. In a joint studyfrom Booz Allen and social platform developer Buddy Media, 57 percent of businesses surveyed plan to increase social media spending, while 38 percent of CEO’s label social as a high priority.
I was also partially accurate in predicting that Google would “strike back” in 2011. They did, with Google Plus, a formidable initiative that acts as Google’s “social layer” to the Web. Part social network and part social search, Google Plus has industry observers scratching their heads, wondering if Facebook will be given a run for their money or if the service evolves into something complimentary in a highly social Web.
I had one big swing-and-miss on Facebook’s intrusion in the location-based services war. While Facebook still supports location tracking in a number of ways, it has not put Foursquare out of business. Foursquare still enjoys a niche audience of highly active participants who enjoy telling the world where they are and post pictures to prove it. It is however worth noting that Facebook recently acquired location based network Gowalla, so continue to watch this space.
So what can we expect in 2012 in a world that seems to grow ever connected by the hour? Here are six predictions to ponder, in no particular order:
Convergence Emergence. For a glimpse into how social will further integrate with “real life,” we can look at what Coca Cola experimented with all the way back in 2010. Coke created an amusement park where participants could “swipe” their RFID-equipped wristbands at kiosks, which posted to their Facebook account what they were doing and where. Also, as part of a marketing campaign, Domino’s Pizza posted feedback — unfiltered feedback — on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world. These types of “trans-media” experiences are likely to define “social” in the year to come.
The Cult of Influence. In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. One particular player has emerged, Klout, determined to establish their platform as the authority of digital influence. Klout’s attempt to convert digital influence into business value underscores a much bigger movement which we’ll continue to see play out in the next year. To some degree everyone now has some digital influence (not just celebrities, academics, policy makers or those who sway public opinion). But for the next year, the cult of influence becomes less about consumer plays like Klout and more about the tools and techniques professionals use to “score” digital influence and actually harness, scale and measure the results of it.
Gamification Nation. No we’re not taking about video games. Rather, game-like qualities are emerging within a number of social apps in your browser or mobile device. From levels, to leaderboards, to badges or points, rewards for participation abound. It’s likely that the trend will have to evolve given how competition for our time and attention this gaming creates. Primarily, gamification has been used in consumer settings, but look for it in other areas from HR, to government, healthcare and even business management. Perhaps negotiating your next raise will be tied to your position on the company’s digital leaderboard.
Social Sharing. Ideas, opinions, media, status updates are all part of what makes social media a powerful and often disruptive force. The media industry was one of the first to understand this, adding sharing options to content, which led to more page views and better status in search results. What comes next in social sharing is more closely aligned with e-commerce or web transactions. For example, Sears allows a user to share a product or review with their networks directly from the site. Sharing that vacation you just booked, or recommending a product, or service from any site to a social network is where sharing goes next. We probably don’t know what we are willing to share until we see the option to do it.
Social Television. For many of us, watching television is already a social act, whether it’s talking to the person next to you, or texting, tweeting, and calling friends about what you’re watching. But television is about to become a social experience in a bigger and broader sense. The X Factor nowallows voting via Twitter and highlights other social promotions, which encourages viewers to tap social networks while they watch. Another way media consumption is becoming social comes from a network called Get Glue which acts as something of a Foursquare for media. Participants can “check-in” to their favorite shows (or other forms of media) and collect stickers to tell the world what programs they love. Watch for more of this this year as ratings rise for socially integrated shows.
The Micro Economy. Lastly as we roll into 2012, watch for a more social approach to solving business problems through a sort of micro-economy. Kickstarter gives anyone with a project, the opportunity to get that initiative funded by those who choose to (and patrons receive something in return). A crowdsourcing platform for would be inventors called Quirky lets the best product ideas rise to the top and then helps them get produced and sold while the “inventor” takes a cut. Air BnB turns homes into hotels and travelers into guests, providing both parties with an opportunity to make and save money. These examples may point to a new future reality where economic value is directly negotiated and exchanged between individuals over institutions.
These are a few emerging trends which come to mind. As with anything, looking to the past often gives us clues for what may come in the future. Please weigh in with your thoughts: where do you see “social” going in 2012?
Source: Harvard Business Review, Dec 12th, 2011
Source: Social Media Angels
I have reposted from David Taylor before, so excuse me for doing it again. This article is a good follow up piece to the one I posted previously “Engagement, Fashionable but bankrupt”.
In this piece David challanges the idea that social media is all about conversations for brands. He looks at some of the facts that are there, like people like 9 brands on Facebook and asks questions like – why do you think they will like your brand. If they weren’t talking about you before Social Media, why will they talk about you now?
Really interesting and challenging stuff.
It’s not all bad news of course. Firstly charities come out well as brands people want to like/follow. Secondly, if you are doing interesting stuff, exciting stuff, entertaining stuff….well then people will want to talk about you. But the fact that they do it on Social Networks is probably secondary.
Well worth a read
Originally posted on the The Brandgym Blog, Novemeber 2011.
Social media: more about communication than conversation?
I did a long post a couple of weeks ago on the lack of hard data proving social media’s effectiveness in building business. One key point I’d like to pick up on again here is the idea that consumers want to “engage”, “participate” and “have conversations” with brands via social media.
The more I think about it, the more I think social media is more about communication than conversation for most brands. At least in terms of brands’ own facebook and twitter sites. This is especially true for FMCG brands, which make up a big part of our client base.
Is your brand more like Prada, or pasta sauce?
There are lots of lofty claims made about social media, many made of course by sellers of social media services. Take this one from agency We Are Social:“People are talking about brands at all hours of every day, in countless forms of social media. These are trusted more than a brand’s own website, and a lot more than advertising. There is a proven link between online conversation and sales.”
Now, let’s leave aside the lack of hard data to back up the claim of a proven link between online conversation and sales. We’ll focus on the bit about people talking about brands.
And ask, which brands?
Now, if you’re lucky enough to work on a sexy fashion brand, TV show or sports team brand, then perhaps people are talking about you “at all hours of every day”. But if you’re flogging pasta sauce, petfood or toilet cleaner, who on earth, if anyone, is talking about your brand like this?! Hopefully not many people, as surely there are more important things to talk about?
Research by Opinion Way for DDB helps shed some light on Facebook. People Like on average on only 9 brands. And these are mainly media, fashion, sport and charities. Check out FMCG, way down at the bottom. What chance of you really got of being 1 of the 9 brands people follow?
Its a similar story on Twitter, as shown in US research by Chadwick Martin, via Mashable Business. This shows that only 21% of people follow any brands at all. And of these, only 36% follow more than 4. In other words, only 7% of people are following more than 4 brands on Twitter.
There is of course also people using their own social media to talk about brands, rather than following a brands’ facebook page or twitter feed. But again, which brands are people going to talk about? A good way of thinking about this is ask if people were talking about your brand before social media. If yes, then social media will help amplify these converations. If no, then why would people suddenly want to start talking about your toilet roll or mayonnaise brand, just because social media exists? The answer if of course that they won’t.
Question 1: Is your brand more like pasta sauce or Prada? If your brand lacks the sex appeal of Prada or U2, and is more mundane, than I would question how much effort to put into creating your own social media platforms. They are likely to appeal to a small, niche group of brand fans who are buying loads of your stuff already.
If you do have a more sexy brand, like Manchester United soccer club, then social media platforms could play a key role in your mix.
Most people are content consumers, not creators
Even your brand is sexy and/or interesting, most of the people visiting your social media site, such as Facebook and YouTube, are there to consume content, not create it.
This is shown by Futurelab research I posted on here, that looked at 20 of the most-liked celebrities on Facebook. For one of the most popular, Lady Gaga, it found she had 39 million Facebook followers but that each user left only 1.82 comments. And a meagre 1,231 people, or 0.003% of the Facebook likers, commented more than this average.
Its the same thing with user-created encyclopedia Wikipedia. Active editors make up only 0.02% of the site’s visitors. 99.98% of us go their to consume content, not create it.
Question 2: How can I create compelling content? Given the low levels of interaction, social media platforms seem to be more about content than conversation for the majority. Indeed, the same old rules of communication apply. Create interesting, emotionally involving and useful content that helps make your brand distinctive and top of mind.
When people do talk about your brand, the same old rules apply
The final point is that when people do talk about your brand online, the main reasons are not because of a fancy social media campaign targeted at a niche group of bloggers. The factors driving online conversation about brands are the same as they were in the old days before the internet. Firstly, doing interesting, exciting and entertaining stuff that people want to talk about (e.g. Yeo Valley farmers advert). Second, screwing up on your product or service (e.g. Blackberry’s recent “outage”)
In conclusion, for most brands social media is just another communication channel. Getting beyond this to conversation will happen if your create interesting, exciting marketing.
What do you think?
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