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Not All Social Media Platforms are Equal – How to Pick the Ones That Work for You

Soshable

Launching a new business? Or promoting an existing one? Either way, my guess is that social media figures pretty high on your priority list when it comes to marketing your brand.

Over 70% of all online adults in the United States have a Facebook account. For the first time ever, 56% of senior citizens are on social media. That figure stands at 89% for young ’uns, or users from 18 to 29 years of age. The millennial generation, consisting of young adults born between 1980 to 2000 and accounting for nearly 30% of the US population, see social media as their primary means of connecting with brands. Over half of them claim that “social opinions” directly influence their purchase decisions.

So we all agree that being on social media is unavoidable if you want to be relevant to today’s consumer.

With the explosion of social media platforms, the question now arises, “which social media platforms will give me actual results?” And this, my friends, is the most sensible place to begin your social media journey.

Research Your Options

The first step to social media success lies in being active on the right platforms and engaging with your target audience in the form that they prefer best. But before you make a choice of which platform would work for your business, you need to first figure out what each platform has to offer you and then proceed by eliminating the least attractive ones.

Before we analyze each platform’s pros and cons, let’s see where they all stand with respect to each other.

The data above clearly shows Facebook as the leader in terms of number of users, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – in that order. This data also shows us how in a matter of a couple of years, Twitter has gone from being the third largest network to a lowly number five. At the same time, we see Facebook stagnating in its usage figures in the last year with a barely-there upward blip in 2013.

Let’s arm ourselves with some more facts about the top five social networks before we decide which ones work best for our business.

Facebook offers brands the widest possible reach – with 1.34 billion active users per month, Facebook is light-years ahead of competition. As a platform it is marginally more popular with women than men, it’s also more popular among Hispanics and Whites as compared to African Americans. A trend that has been accelerating in recent years is the exodus of teens from the site with 3 million teens dropping off in the last three years.

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Leveraging Social Media for Lead Generation

Business 2 Community

In order to leverage social media to fill your sales funnel, you’ll need to invest in a tool that will help your business filter content and target influencers and prospective customers. Many small businesses are using social media to build awareness about their services, but you can go much further and target and engage prospective customers. Before you invest in any of these tools, make sure that you’re also doing the basics when it comes to your businesses’ social media profile and content generation.

  1. Branded Profile – All of your profiles are branded and have a consistent look and feel. Social media isn’t any different than your website, collateral or a sales package. Your brand image and message should be clear.
  2. Consistent Schedule of Content – You’ll need a consistent schedule of content to nurture your audience and grow your community. Keep your message conversational.
  3. Relevant Content – Most businesses have a lot to share. Think about how you can educate your audience and showcase your expertise. For example, if your business targets marketers and small businesses, then your content should help those prospects solve problems and make their day-to-day activities easier. Hubspot’s article on mixing up visual content is very helpful.
  4. Assets – Most businesses have many assets already created. Take a look at past campaigns, whitepapers and informational content that you can leverage in the social space. It’s not always about creating content from scratch.
  5. Monitoring and Listening – In addition to publishing, you will need to listen and monitor what’s being said about your business and what prospects are saying about your industry. There are several free tools that can help you get into the flow of the conversation.

Here are a few lead generation tools that help you find your target audience, engage and fill your sales funnel.

Socedo – Is a great tool to use with Twitter and LinkedIn. With this tool, you set up key words that will filter the relevant leads for your business. Socedo allows you to also establish automated messages to start engaging with prospects immediately. The dashboard feature helps you manage how those prospects respond so that you can convert them into customers. I like the free 14-day trial feature, which allows you to take it for a test run. Pricing is based on the number of prospects you generate and is relatively low.

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Google Takes Backseat To Facebook’s Digital Display Ad Revenue

MediaPost

Google takes the No. 2 position in digital display advertising revenue behind Facebook, with its share of the U.S. market dipping from 13.7% in 2014 to 13.0% this year — and down to 11.1% by 2017, per data released Thursday.

Facebook’s digital display U.S. advertising revenue continues to climb from $5.29 billion in 2014 to $6.82 billion and $10.03 billion in 2017, per eMarketer.

The total U.S. market is forecast to climb from $27.05 billion this year to $37.36 billion by 2017.

This year, Twitter in the U.S. will take $1.34 billion, followed by Yahoo at $1.24 billion — rising to $2.54 billion and $1.29 billion by 2017, respectively.

Mobile advertising will drive Facebook’s and Twitter’s gains in the digital display market. For the first time in 2015, mobile will surpass desktop in U.S. display ad spend, rising from $9.65 billion in 2014 to $14.67 billion this year. Meanwhile, desktop display advertising in the U.S. will decline in 2015, falling to $12.38 billion from $12.56 billion last year, per eMarketer.

Facebook will generate nearly $5 billion in U.S. mobile ad revenue from display ads, rising to $7.53 billion in 2017. Nearly 90% of Twitter’s U.S. ad revenue will come from mobile devices this year, reaching $1.19 billion. Google takes a No. 2 position in the mobile display category — rising from $1.47 billion in 2015 to $2.37 billion in 2017. Twitter follows close behind with nearly $2 billion in 2015, and $2.29 billion in 2017, eMarketer estimates.

Apple rounds out the top five for mobile ad revenue in the United States with $795 million in 2015, rising to $1.46 billion in 2017.

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12 Breakout Social Media Successes

CITEworld

During the past year, the social media world saw a variety of well-executed ad campaigns, but these 12 standouts, from companies including Coca-Cola, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald’s, are the cream of the crop, according to social media experts.

Screen Shot 2015 03 30 at 12.27.01 PM 12 Breakout Social Media Successes

Ice buckets and IKEA catalogs. Girl power and friendships cemented over soft drinks. The resurrection of a cancelled TV show, and an adorable Pomeranian. These were the stuff of successful social media campaigns from major brands and organizations since the summer of 2014, as selected by the group of social media experts we queried.

The following campaigns succeeded on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other sites because of the fresh thinking and, in some cases, big money and audacious spirit that created them. Without further ado, here are 12 of the most successful social media initiatives of the past year, in alphabetical order. (For examples of earlier successful examples, read “14 Must-See Social Media Marketing Success Stories.”

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A New Industry: These Groups Love Freelancers

Jeremiah Owyang

A booming market emerges: The Freelancer Economy is predicted to be 40% of the American workforce in just five years, and the startups that power them have been funded over $10B – and a whole new class of organizations have emerged to support, empower, and connect freelancers.

Over the last decade, the Social Media industry birthed many groups to serve content providers. The birth of the social media industry resulted in many realizing that the audience gave way to participants. Nearly everyone is now creating, sharing, chatting, rating and ranking alongside the mainstream media. Just as we saw in the social media and blogging industry the rise of organizations to cater to these new influencers, such as BlogHer, Federated Media, Clever Girls, Glam and IZEA to offer events, gifts, sample products, services, and more, we’re beginning to see it repeat.

The Collaborative Economy industry is birthing many groups to help service providers. That same metaphor is now repeating in the Collaborative Economy. Individuals, called “micro-entrepreneurs” or “freelancers” or “Makers” or “hosts/drivers/taskrabbits” are now creating their own goods and experiences, alongside Fortune 500 companies. To help standardize the language being used in the Collaborative Economy, these folks are called Providers, who offer rides, homes, goods, and services to Partakers, learn more about the three Ps, on this definitive post.


Social Media vs Collaborative Economy: Reach and Intimacy

Trusted Peer Cohort Reach Intimacy
Social Media Influencers, Bloggers, and YouTube celebs. High, they can reach thousands to millions of eyeballs in a single tweet, and with engagement, a network effect. Low, they’re unable to have meaningful converations with all of their following.
Providers, Freelancers, Airbnb Hosts, and RideShare Drivers. Low, they can only reach those in proximity they’re working with. High, since peers trust them for rides and experiences, they’ll trust them for recommendations of other offerings.

Continue Reading…

Publishers love WhatsApp’s potential, but struggle with execution

DIGIDAY

Publishers have a love-hate relationship with WhatsApp. While many are seeing big numbers from the platform, they’re also wrangling with a handful of product issues that complicate how they’re approaching the platform.

For publishers such The Huffington Post U.K. and Daily Mirror, which use WhatsApp to send breaking news alerts to readers, the big challenge is the work involved in getting people signed up for the alerts. It’s an arduous process on both ends. To get the alerts, readers have to send a message to a dedicated number setup by a publisher, which is a more-lengthy process than clicking a “Like” or “Follow” button.

But that’s only the beginning of the process: To get those alerts out to readers, publishers have to add every signed up user to a Broadcast List, which is what lets WhatsApp users send messages to many people at once. That’s a long process for publishers’ small social media teams, and it’s made more complicated by WhatsApp limiting each broadcast list to 256 users.

“It’s an absolute nightmare,” said Chris York, social media editor at Huffington Post U.K., which launched its first WhatsApp trials in October. York said that process of adding and removing WhatsApp users from its Broadcast lists has been so laborious that The Huffington Post has stopped actively marketing the feature. “We’ve only just scratched the surface of what we could achieve with WhatsApp and we’re really excited to keep innovating with their platform,” he added.

Other publishers are seeing the same issues. The Daily Mirror, which started sending out WhatsApp politics alerts last week, has already felt the heat. “We don’t have the biggest team, and it’s a very manual process, particularly in comparison to something like Twitter,” said Heather Bowen, head of social media at The Daily Mirror.

But publisher frustrations with WhatsApp are in part due to the basic reality that WhatsApp was designed for small-scale commutation, large-scale broadcasting.

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The New York Times on Social Media: Not About the ‘Hyperbole’

American Journalism Review

Michael Roston has a clear vision of what makes a good social media editor — and it’s not about driving empty clicks back to a website.

It’s really about knowing how to publish true things on the Internet. To put it simply, a great social media editor needs what every journalist needs: a “strong editorial judgment,” he said.

“That’s what everyone on our team shares: we all have a sense of how not to blow things out of proportion and not to get ahead of journalists and editors,” said Roston, a senior staff editor on the New York Times’ social media desk. “It’s very important to know what we’re actually reporting and when we can’t say more or exaggerate things and get into the kind of hyperbole that you might see on other social media platforms, where they’re just trying to get people to click through to content.

“For us, it’s very important that we focus on delivering what the news actually is.”

Roston and his team are responsible for distributing the Times’ content on its Twitter account, with 15.5 million followers, and its Facebook page, with almost 9.3 million likes. He recently spoke with AJR about the team’s strategy. The following is an edited Q & A.

American Journalism Review: In a January Nieman Lab articleyou talked about the Times’ social media desk joining a new department. Explain some of the changes your desk has gone through.

Michael Roston: The social media desk of the Times, for many years, was hosted under the interactive news desk. The idea was that we were the leading technology enterprise in the newsroom, so we needed to work closely with developers and interactive news, who build a lot of the really cool things you might see on the Times website.

The changes made around the Times newsroom indicate that, rather than working hand in hand with the technology providers, it makes more sense if we’re working hand in hand with the people who generate analytics for the newsroom, so we can understand who is coming to us, and who’s reading what kind of stories and when they’re reading them. We’re also working more with the SEO team that’s been built within the newsroom. These teams of people have all been put under one group so we can work together more seamlessly.

We’ve always had a very strong relationship with the people who ran the Facebook page, but we’ve recently just formalized the relationship. So now they work in the newsroom, just like the rest of the social media team.

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There Is Now a New iPhone App that Encrypts Calls and Texts

WIRED

IF YOU OWN an iPhone or Android handset and care about your privacy, there’s no longer much of an excuse not to encrypt every conversation you have. Now a free, zero-learning-curve app exists for both text and voice that can keep those communications fully encrypted, so that no one but the person holding the phone on the other end can decipher your words.

On Monday the open-source encryption software group Open Whisper Systems announced a new upgrade to Signal, its iOS app that enables end-to-end encrypted voice calling. With the update, Signal will end-to-end encrypt text messaging, too. And in WIRED’s testing of that updated all-in-one app, it’s just as idiot-proof as the two most basic, lime-green iPhone communication buttons it replaces.

“The objective is to be a complete, transparent replacement for secure communications,” says Open Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike. “We want to have a texting and calling experience that’s actually better than the default experience and is also private.”

In fact, the Signal update completes a suite of mobile encryption apps that Marlinspike has been developing for nearly five years. In May of 2010, Marlinspike released Redphone and Textsecure for Android, two apps that enabled end-to-end encrypted voice calls (using VoIP and the ZRTP protocol developed by PGP creator Phil Zimmermann) and text messages. But users of those apps could communicate only with other Redphone and TextSecure users, leaving iPhone users in the cold. Soon after, Marlinspike’s startup Whisper Systems was acquired by Twitter, putting his encryption app work on a two-year hiatus.

Marlinspike left Twitter in 2013, and in July of 2014 his newly recreated Open Whisper Systems released Signal, a free voice-calling app that’s interoperable with Redphone. That meant iPhone users could have free, secure voice conversations with their Android owning-friends (and each other).

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The State of Social Media in 2015

Econtent

When you were a youngster and wanted to meet new people and make friends, you had to travel to an event such as an ice cream social. Today, connecting with friends can be accomplished instantly via a few clicks a la social media.

If you need further evidence of social media’s omnipresent influence nowadays, take a gander at We Are Social’s “Digital Statshot 002″ report, which reveals that there are currently about 2 billion active social media accounts worldwide-equating to a whopping penetration of 28% of the planet’s population, with about roughly 1.6 billion of these accounts active via mobile. What’s more, 72% of all internet users are currently active on social media, and 93% of marketers use social media for business.

Social platforms also continue to increase and, for the most part, thrive. In order, the top 10 most popular social networking sites (according to eBizMBA, Inc.) are Facebook (900 million estimated unique monthly visitors), Twitter (310 million), LinkedIn (255 million), Pinterest (250 million), Google+ (120 million), Tumblr (110 million), Instagram (100 million), VK (80 million), Flickr (65 million), and Vine (42 million).

Ask industry experts and they’ll tell you that social media has rapidly evolved from a niche digital channel into an indispensible and expected feature that’s fully integrated into the online experience for users everywhere. “Social media is no longer just for fun, but now provides an essential communication and research function to individuals,” says Annette A. Penney, online marketing strategist for Inspire and Acquire. “We now often prefer to communicate with our friends, family members, and work colleagues through our social media accounts rather than call them on the phone.”

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How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

IDG Connect 0811 How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

Marc Michaels is Director of Behaviour and Planning at the GIG at DST. As a marketing professional and procurement expert with extensive experience, Marc has become a champion for marketing communications for 28 years. As Director of Direct and Relationship Marketing and Evaluation at the COI, he managed a team of 50 professionals delivering hundreds of high profile government behaviour change campaigns involving direct mail, door drops, e-mail, contact centre and fulfilment, household distribution, field marketing, customer relationship management and campaign evaluation across all major COI clients. Now at the GIG at DST Marc now provides ‘end to end’ consultancy across strategy development, planning, implementation and evaluation. 

Marc is a life-time Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and industry speaker. His extensive experience in marketing has provided Marc with a unique stance. He believes wholeheartedly that marketing doesn’t just have to be digital.

In a tough economic climate where competition is rife it can be difficult to generate business exposure. From large businesses to SMEs, companies are constantly trying to market themselves better. Often this will be through the multitude of emerging digital channels that have opened up a wealth of opportunity for the savvy marketer. Channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to name only three, have made it easier and less expensive for businesses to promote themselves, if they have the skills and time to exploit them. However, whilst these new and flashy channels may look attractive and appear cheaper, it is important not to be seduced by them exclusively. Too many marketers are too quick to abandon physical marketing, perhaps because these particular methods are seen as outdated or untrendy compared to an eye-grabbing Vine or promoted Facebook post. Relying solely on social channels exclusively is flawed. Even within our continually and rapidly evolving digital world, offline solutions can still be right for your business.

Check out his tips here…