Social Media trends for 2014

9 01 2014

The Social Media Today website recently published a very interesting article on UK Social Media statistics for 2014.

Some noticeable trends that interested me:

  1. Facebook’s growth has come to an end as it is now fully “mainstream”
  2. 40% of Twitter users prefer to simply read content and use it as a way to curate news feeds
  3. LinkedIn is by far the most effective social media platform for driving visitors to corporate websites which also reflects a move away from using LinkedIn as an online CV
  4. No confirmed user statistics for Google Plus
  5. Pinterest and Instagram are growing quickly but from very small bases
  6. Snapchat and WhatsApp are growing also, especially among younger age groups

What struck me most, however, is the lack of hard statistics for most of the platforms. One of the great strengths of digital marketing is its ability to provide measurable numbers but they seem to be sadly lacking here.

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A great use of Twitter

8 04 2013

What is a good use of Twitter? This question is asked by many people every day. At the moment I am endeavouring to put together a Twitter strategy for a professional services firm. What I find very frustrating is that people who do not want to engage find it very easy to provide examples of how pointless Twitter is. However, there is one bright shining example of how to use Twitter really well that can beat back all those arguments against Twitter and social media in general.

Much of what runs over Twitter is tripe, pointless comment made over the minutia of life, but Hadfield is able to transcend this, turning the ordinary into insight.

 Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times

That example is Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut currently based in the International Space Station. He combines a beautiful eye for photography with a real ability to engage with ordinary people. He also has a rare ability to include a really meaningful comment that seems to go beyond the simple interpretation of the actual words. Follow @cmdr_hadfield now.





Is Graph Search a game changer?

18 02 2013

Niall Harbison, co-founder of Simply Zesty, will be a popular speaker, I suspect, at DMX Dublin 2013. The Simply Zesty story is fantastic and it’s great to see an Irish company doing so well. Niall recently spoke at a PM Forum event in the newly refurbished offices of Ernst & Young. He gave the following advice which I thought cut through the haze that often surrounds social media.

  1. Pick one channel and get it right
    The four dominant social media channels are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn with Google+ coming in fifth. Niall’s advice was to ignore this months trend and get one of these channels right.
  2. Blog
    Simply Zesty owes its success to top quality blogging. If you blog then you own the content, it is always yours.
  3. Set goals
    It might be a bit of a cliché but how many so-called social media experts fail to set real, meaningful goals that make a difference to your business. Collecting ‘likes’ or followers is not a real goal.
  4. Avoid the “arms race” for Facebook likes
    The new Graph Search feature currently being rolled out by Facebook will make chasing vast numbers of ‘likes’ almost irrelevant. Facebook will allow users to search based on what their friends recommend rather than the quantity of likes.

I was very struck by how powerful Niall believes Facebook will become. He cited the example of Netflix using Facebook logins to illustrate how he believes that Facebook will soon be the real backbone of the Internet. Combined with the potential of Graph Search Niall sees a strong future for Facebook.





Media 360 Conference via Twitter

23 11 2012

I could not attend the Media 360 conference this week but did follow it on Twitter. I thought it might be interesting to summarise the views of the Twitterati under a few headings.

General comments

  1. The decisions you make now will determine how successful your brand will be when the recession ends
  2. Short term decisions to cut [marketing] spend leads to long-term damage to your market share
  3. Aside from numbers, the biggest strength of radio is the one-to-one relationship people have with it
  4. Deadlines work on ads. Creates a sense of urgency and spurs people into action
  5. Deliver a strong call to action and focus on the goal

Research

  1. Invest in good research and monitoring to see what parts of your ad campaign work
  2. Don’t trust research (this from the head of a leading market research company)

Digital

  1. Digital has a place in all marketing plans
  2. Brands that are winning in the digital world are those that are open to participation
  3. Ensure that your website is accessible through all devices
  4. Direct mail and digital work well together
  5. SEO your website and use mobile search
  6. Search is the bridge between traditional and digital advertising
  7. Digital will drive the recovery of media

Social

  1. All about social media for 15-24 year olds
  2. 40% of all Tweets during peak viewing times are TV related
  3. Implement social listening
  4. Social content is NOT advertising
  5. Create a content schedule for social media

Mobile

  1. Mobile is a key area of growth, RTE say they see 60% of their traffic coming via this channel
  2. Don’t use your desktop as a digital frame of reference, use mobile




Is Twitter dying?

21 06 2012

I am intrigued by the sudden rise in discussions on social media and its future. Why is this? I think it is driven by several industry issues such as the seeming failure of Google+ and the problems with the Facebook IPO.

The real problem I believe is that digital marketing evangelists have always promoted digital channels on the grounds of better ROI and better information. The old adage of ‘50% of my advertising works but I’m not sure which 50%’ does not apply to digital marketing we have been repeatedly told. What is happening now it that companies are realising that social media is not a magical solution to effective marketing communications but is actually a complex channel that requires a high investment in resources to regularly deliver really good content. Companies are starting to realise that social media might not be worth the effort.

So back to my original question: is Twitter dying?

In the ‘yes’ corner: limited reach, stagnant growth, poor engagement (40% of Twitter accounts have never sent a Tweet)

In the ‘no’ corner: Twitter users do follow brands, sales have come from Twitter accounts, higher spending power of Twitter users.

If you are interested in a good overview of why social media is not the silver bullet it is made out to be read this article from small business can.