In addition to that at-a-glance summary of our teams' global social media activities, the newsletter also includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, social media, mobile, marketing and communications in order to keep the wider team up to date on changes, newsworthy items, and content that might be useful in their jobs.
I thought it might be useful to share that agglomeration of links here as well on a weekly basis so we can all benefit. And if you have content that you think should have my attention, please feel free to leave a link in the comments section. While I can't promise that it will make the next edition, it will help shape the thinking around the social media environment that we all have to work in.
- The Washington Post has launched a function called BrandConnect that will let marketers create sponsored content throughout the site, further blurring the lines between paid and earned media. This content will have prime real estate on the homepage.
- Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that while women are highly active and influential on social media, many report having decreased or completely cut off usage of at least one social network in the past 6 months.
- Content marketing is about way more than blog posts, videos, infographics and the like. Strategy, SEO, meta data, embed codes, link building, syndication and more come into play and are part of Content Marketing Nirvana.
- Two on government agencies: the FTC has published its final guidelines for endorsements and testimonials; and then a call for the SEC to update is disclosure guidelines for social media.
- Customer service on Twitter continues to grow. The Simply Measured study has been updated to show 99 of the Interbrand 100 are participating and responses and response rates are growing. In fact, our own Ford team was called out as an example.
- Red Bull is expanding both its social portfolio and association with the world of extreme sports by introducing Flow, a trick-sharing app designed for skateboarders and BMXers. Available for iPhone and Android, Flow allows users to either record in-app or upload pre-recorded content, which it then converts from individual clips to assemble a seamless "flow" of content.
- Everyone seems to be competing on product features. At the end of the day, most businesses can be categorized as a commodity: a similar product can be found elsewhere. So how do you stand out and compete? On service - starting by adopting A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answer Customers' Questions.
- The SXSW festival (yes, it's a festival) is in full swing, with the Interactive portion just wrapping up. Little Bird has launched a tool called Big Fish that tracks the trending conversations at SXSWi and the Top 30 influencers at SXSWi, updated every 6 hours. But if you believe CNET, the breakout news topic was none other than Grumpy Cat.
|Image credit: digitaltrends|
- Facebook unveiled its new News Feed look, designed for less clutter and more focus on larger images and storytelling. The new layout will have a universal design, regardless of device - mobile, tablet or laptop - and was described by Mark Zuckerberg as "a personalized newspaper." What this means for brands is we'll have to become more adept at visual storytelling AND having relevant content that matters to consumers.
- Fast Company has a look at the redesigned News Feed, what they're calling "an algorithm's band-aid."
- The WSJ provided a Guide to Facebook's Privacy Options, including an annotated graphic.
- Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Microsoft Research published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that show that by analyzing users' likes on Facebook, they can determine certain private personality traits.
- Native video uploads to Facebook actually get more reach than YouTube links shared on the social networking platform, according to a recent analysis by Socialbakers. Of course, the limitation is that Facebook videos can't be shared outside of Facebook.
- It's been widely accepted that tweens and teens are flocking to Instagram as a social network of choice. Now that has been validated in a comment by Facebook's CFO, who recognized Instagram as "a quite formidable competitor."
- Google+ has updated its profile and page requirements, most notably expanding the size of the cover image, adding a tab for local reviews, and creating easier ways to edit.
- Ford Motor Company's profile on Google+ surpassed 2 million followers last week.
- The next social craze for teens might be Pheed. The iPhone app lets users share text, photos, video and audio - think of it as Instagram with more media choices, but Facebook with fewer features. To date, 81% of the users are between the ages of 14 and 25.
- Tumblr will introduce mobile advertising to support the growing platform that already boasts more than 100 million users.
- Not all social network(er)s are created equal. The popularity of each platform varies by demographics, and it's important to understand the differences.
- 15 Twitter Stats that Brands Should Know, courtesy of Digiday. Some of the more significant:
- 95 percent of public conversations about TV shows happen on Twitter
- 80 percent of Twitter's users in Japan and the UK are on mobile; 60 percent in the U.S.
- A very academic post on measurement standards that are evolving in social media. Very complex stuff that we're very interested in; will be following this with great interest and trying to define what's right for Ford as part of our Global Social Media Measurement Task Force.
- Dell is expanding its PR measurement, adopting a social net advocacy tool that provides real-time intelligence on how customers are responding to product features.
- The Forbes CMO Network asks, "What Can Marketers Do To Manage and Leverage Big Data?"
- Ford is referenced in the WSJ Journal Report How Big Data Is Changing the Whole Equation for Business. Noted was our scouring of a number of auto enthusiast sites to determine whether to bring the three-blink turn indicator to the U.S. without having to undergo full-scale market research.
- IBM may have paved the way for more cloud computing and open architecture as a new model of computing for the IT industry. Unlike previous mainframe-based and client-server models that have dominated the last 50 years, cloud computing is centered around the Internet and open architectures. More than changing the way computing is generated and consumed, the great promise of cloud-based services is "its potential for driving business innovation" - a potential that remains largely untapped.
One of the links we planned to share in the “bookmarks” section below is a very insightful deck from Widen+Kennedy titled “How To (Not) FAIL.” One of the key takeaways is to remember what consumers are facing and that for them, our brand is not the center of their universe; they live busy lives. If you think that’s the case, a quick look at what consumers value most from brands particularly on social networks, the answer is: discounts and offers. That shouldn’t be a shock. Why? Because like you and me, they’re starved for time and they want something that will make their lives easier.
That shouldn’t be too much of stretch for us. While we certain can make offers and discounts available from time to time, it can’t be our go-to strategy. The challenge we face is how to be interesting to them and to give more than we take. This might mean reconsidering how often we share content. Higher quality and lower quantity might be called for. Or we might simply wish to make them smile. Or provide a public service type of announcement. What this does is it makes the brand look better in their eyes so that they remain engaged. That way, when it is time to make a purchase or to consider a decision, we’re seen as a brand that is there for them when they need us, like a trusted ally.
- Execs In The Know and Digital Roots have joined forces to produce a benchmark study on the customer experience called How Companies Are Supporting the Connected Consumer.
- Our role as communicators and marketers is primarily to be story tellers. How do you improve those skills? You could start by following Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling.
- Mitch Joel of Twist Image has a great blog and an accompanying podcast. Both are called Six Pixels of Separation and are worth bookmarking. If you have a chance, listen to his latest episode with Sam Decker on the future of social media and content.
- All of the links above are available on Delicious.
So there you have this week's round-up. If you spot some newsworthy items that fit into any of these categories, please drop them in a link or send a note to me via Google+. And thanks for reading.
Top image credit: Whiskeygonebad (Flickr)