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Friday5: New Social Media Features

Keeping track of all the major updates across social media can be daunting even for the most tuned-in digital people. Here to help is this week’s Friday5 looking at some of the most recent updates to the major social media platforms. These tools are great ways to help Community Managers reach and engage more of their community.

1. Twitter Amplify

Twitter’s Amplify service is moving out of the garage and into the fully-functioning real world. Historically, the Twitter Amplify service has been used by major U.S. and European TV broadcasters to share live TV clips and video content on Twitter in real-time. The paid media distribution service from Twitter has seen the most success during live televised events such as award shows and sporting events—including the World Cup. The service extends the reach beyond a broadcaster’s standard TV viewers by serving live TV content to Twitter users without leaving the Twitter app. Twitter recently announced that it’s expanding the service to more broadcasters and media companies, potentially allowing more live video content from events such as concerts or speeches.

2. Snapchat Geo Filters

Snapchat recently released a new feature on its app which allows users to add customized filters to their Snaps based on location. Currently the geo-filters only exist for popular destinations and neighborhoods in Los Angeles and New York City—a few were created for Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup. It’s unconfirmed, but speculated, that Snapchat will use this new feature as a revenue source tapping popular tourist destinations such as theme parks, sports arenas and museums to name a few.

3. iPad App Makes 3D Selfies

A partnership between Occipital and Itseez3D created an iPad app which can turn any picture from an iOS camera—with an attached Structure Sensor device—into a 3D object. Although this app isn’t specific to a particular social media platform it could create a whole new way for users to share their selfies—especially after Facebook closed the $2 billion purchase of virtual reality startup Oculus Rift. Of course there’s hundreds of applications for an app which creates 3D images beyond the self-indulgent selfies—such as mapping dimensions of a room, gaming avatars or 3D printing—but let’s be honest. Consumers want one thing: to share selfies.

4. Vine Loop Counts

Twitter’s popular micro-video sharing platform, Vine, has added a way to measure engagement and popularity of a Vine, which was previously unavailable to users and admins. The updated feature allows users on the mobile app and vine.co to view in real-time, the popularity of a Vine based on how many times it’s been looped. This is a great KPI for clients to understand the reach and popularity of their Vine beyond the standard comments and Twitter engagement.

5. Updated Tweet Activity Dashboard

Twitter already has a robust analytics platform for promoted Tweets but has recently expanded its analytics offerings to organic Tweets. Through the updated Tweet Activity Dashboard, Community Managers can now view how Tweets are performing in real-time, impressions (time a Tweet is viewed by a user), and total engagement including clicks to links and embedded media in addition to the standard Retweets, replies and favorites. The updated Dashboard can help optimize content strategy in real-time and provide up-to-the-minute metrics.

What new feature are you most excited to use?

Friday5: The #WorldCup Happened on Twitter

We all got a kick out of the #WorldCup, and Twitter showed it. As the FIFA World Cup excitement unfolded in Brazil, it also played out on the social media platform in a big way: fans across the globe discussed every exhilarating and emotional moment as it happened.

After all of the 64 thrilling matches, including Sunday’s dramatic final, Twitter compiled the numbers and released some pretty impressive-sounding statistics to illustrate just how massive the conversation has been since the start of the World Cup on June 12.

1. There were 672 million Tweets sent related to the 2014 #WorldCup

Whether fans were discussing the latest injury or reacting to a big goal, the crowd came to Twitter to discuss the games 672 million times, making it the highest number Twitter’s announced related to an event; it’s hard to compare the 32-day, 64-match World Cup to, for example, the single-game Super Bowl, the one-night Oscars, or the 16-day Olympics.

2. Fans shared the most during the Brazil vs Germany semi-final match

While fans were discussing the drama of the games every minute of every day, conversation really took off during each live match, as expected. Specifically, during the semi-final between Brazil and Germany fans sent more than 35.6 million Tweets, making this a new Twitter record for a single event.

Top three most-tweeted matches:

  • Brazil vs. Germany on July 8: 35.6 million Tweets
  • Argentina vs. Germany (World Cup Final) on July 13: 32.1 million Tweets
  • Brazil vs. Chile on June 28: 16.4 million Tweets
3. Fans sent 618,725 Tweets per minute when Germany won the #WorldCupFinal

To no one’s surprise, three of the top five most-tweeted moments occurred during Brazil’s depressing 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany on July 8, while the other top moments came in the final match. Below are the top five moments that generated the highest peaks of conversation, measured in Tweets per minute (TPM), during the entire tournament:

  • Germany defeats Argentina to win the World Cup Final on July 13: 618,725 TPM
  • Germany’s Sami Khedira scores goal assisted by Mesut Özil in July 8 semi-final vs. Brazil: 580,166 TPM
  • Germany’s Mario Götze scores game-winning goal in World Cup Final on July 13: 556,499 TPM
  • Germany’s Toni Kroos scores his second goal of July 8 semi-final match vs. Brazil: 508,601 TPM
  • Germany’s Toni Kroos scores, bringing the score to 3-0 in the July 8 semi-final match vs. Brazil: 497,425 TPM
4. Brazil’s Neymar Jr. was the most mentioned player

Brazil’s Neymar Jr. and Argentina’s Lionel Messi were the most mentioned players on Twitter during the World Cup. Coming in third place was Uruguay’s Luis Suárez due to the infamous biting incident rather than his fútbol skills.

5. The conversation around the World Cup has truly been global

The World Cup lived up to its name with the Twitter conversation reaching nearly every country across the globe. Click here to see a map of how the games have played out on Twitter, with the entire tournament in 60 seconds, from beginning to end. You can also explore individual games too with Twitter’s maps for each match.

While the month-long celebration of the World Cup is over, there’s plenty more to discuss – and Twitter is making sure to remind users that it’s a great place to engage in conversation around real-time events as they’re unfolding. The World Cup proved just that.

To learn how to implement best practices for your own sports-related clients, visit Twitter’s Sports Media page.

Image credit: alobos Life

Friday5: Facebook Organic Reach Q&A

On June 5, Facebook addressed widespread frustration from brands who have seen a significant decline in organic reach via a Q&A on the topic authored by Facebook Head of Ads Product Marketing Brian Boland. In this edition of Friday5, we analyze Facebook’s core answers and provide some additional perspective.

1. Why is organic reach declining?

Facebook’s answer is two-fold. First, mobile technology created an explosion of content from everyone (users and brands), which leads to the second reason: increased competition for space in users’ News Feeds. Per Facebook, there are an average of 1,500+ pieces of content vying for only 300 available slots in the News Feed. To rise above the noise, brands need to approach Facebook with a strategic approach that starts with content (and includes paid support).

2. Why not just show everything — every piece of content from every friend and Page — and let people decide what they want to see?

Some social platforms (e.g., Twitter), offer real-time content through a constant ticker. Facebook has always been different. The Facebook News Feed is dynamic and evolves based on user habits.

Facebook is built around trying to serve people content they want to see. Many debate the effectiveness of Facebook’s algorithm, but in general this is more likely to be content from friends than brands.

3. Is organic reach dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money?

Facebook’s answer is no. They argue that they make such changes to protecting its users.

That may be, but creating the best possible user experience is how Facebook makes money in the long run. Facebook attracted over a billion users by giving its users what they want (more often than not). As marketers, it’s important to understand that:

  • Facebook is a business. They know that giving brands priority in the News Feed is the most effective way for them to monetize the platform.
  • Social media is growing up – paid is no longer a nice-to-have, but is rather a critical component for elevating your top content (and not just on Facebook).
  • Facebook users care more about their friends than brands. No one is petitioning Facebook to see more ads.
4. Is Facebook the only marketing platform that’s seen declines in organic reach?

Facebook cites search engines as examples of platforms where organic reach declined as they matured. It’s important to understand that Facebook’s success isn’t just about organic reach anymore:

  • Organic reach does not always equal engagement. Facebook prides itself on crafting a delivery algorithm that delivers to those likely to engage rather than simply everyone.
  • Other platforms may offer greater ability to reach new people organically. YouTube and Twitter are examples. Instagram is probably the hottest for organic engagement on brand content right now.
  • Facebook is improving tools for brands to go deeper and be smarter when delivering content.
5. OK, there’s more content now. But what’s the value of having more people like my Page? I paid good money for my fans on Facebook, and now I can’t reach as many of them.

Facebook’s answer: Fans have value because they make ads more effective and cheaper, they give you insights about your customers, and they give you credibility via social context on ads.

Facebook’s answer is part of the story, but there’s more:

  • Fan acquisition should not be an umbrella objective in most cases.
  • A Facebook “like” is not equivalent to an email subscription.
  • Facebook is getting better at tracking deeper metrics. Brands need to move beyond fan counts, and even engagements (likes + comments + shares), to focus on deeper metrics like conversion, purchase, etc.

Facebook and all social media will continue to change and evolve rapidly. Change will create challenges for brands, but also new opportunities to communicate in more targeted, more innovative and more effective ways.

How does your team respond to changes in social platforms?

Photo credit: Bethan

Five Things PR Students Must Do to Succeed in the “Real World”

We spend a quarter century of our lives – maybe even more – training, conditioning, and educating ourselves to be self-sufficient, hopefully even productive, members of the “real world.” That’s a great deal of time and energy that, if used effectively, can lay the groundwork for success.

Over the past three days, some of the most successful people in the PR and media industry, along with some of the most esteemed educators, came together at the 2014 Academic Summit in Chicago to discuss how to teach and prepare the next generation of PR pros to be the future leaders of our industry.

So for those who are still in training, hoping to make it in the world of PR: listen up. Here are five key takeaways from the #2014AcademicSummit:

1. Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks

Platforms for communication are changing at an exceptional rate; PR professionals can’t just keep doing what’s been done before. We need to adapt and innovate, be willing to experiment and take chances. As Richard Edelman instructed in his speech yesterday, come up with “ideas that challenge conventional wisdom.”

2. Think Outside the “PR” Box

Diversifying your skills and understanding related disciplines is essential. Over the past year, Edelman hired over 1,700 people worldwide. Richard Edelman explained that many of these new hires had never worked in PR before. We heard from a few of them at the Academic Summit, such as Chris Paul, covering paid media, and Tyler Gray, discussing the Creative Newsroom.

3. Pay Attention and Participate

How often do you hear about a new popular app or the latest update to Twitter? These changes are happening constantly and the only way to keep up is to not just pay attention, but participate. Test out new features, experiment on new platforms. When asked what quality is most valuable in an entry level candidate, one panelist from a leading tech brand answered simply, “curiosity.”

4. Learn How to Tell Impactful, Relevant Stories

The official theme of the Academic Summit is “Storytelling @ The Speed of Now,” so it’s no surprise that effective storytelling was a recurring topic of conversation. From telling stories of a brand or corporate character to empowering employees to share their own stories, finding the emotion to bring a story to life is key.

5. Build Your Personal Brand

Yesterday, Yumi Wilson of LinkedIn* (disclosure: Edelman client), spoke about the importance of building your social presence. Even just having a picture makes people 14 percent more likely to click on your profile; but keep it professional, Yumi advised—no selfies. How you represent yourself online reflects your personal brand, so use your social channels to portray your brand appropriately.

What do you believe incoming PR professionals need to understand to succeed?

*Edelman Client

**Please note, there will be no Friday5 next week July 4 due to the Independence Day Holiday.

Friday5 | What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet argues—more or less—that a name is nothing more than a convention to identify a person, or more broadly a noun. A rose by any other name still retains the sweet smell of a rose, right? But in today’s world a name has a little more weight and could mean the potential to lose millions of dollars in trademarked merchandise—just ask the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The well-established sports team had its trademark protection canceled this past week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark office revoked it, calling the team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.” Although the team and NFL plans to appeal the decision, it raises the question: “What’s in a name?”

This week’s Friday5 looks at what it means to have an established name and the consequences that may follow.

1. A Name is an Identifier

First and foremost, a name identifies a brand, product or service on the market. The identification aspect is the most important reason to secure a brand name. Unfortunately for the NFL team, the team name is considered a racial slur. When selecting a brand name, or even campaign name, it’s important to remember how it will be identified by most or even some.

2. A Name Carries Meaning

A brand is a set of associations that one has related to a person, place, product, service, or pretty much anything else. Despite the team’s performance and championships, its name’s reputation as a racial slur is finally catching up to the team after 82 years. When creating a brand name or even campaign name it’s crucial to understand the name’s connotations and denotations locally, regionally and even nationally.

3. People are Familiar with a Name

Unfortunately for Washington’s NFL team they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place: the proponents of the name change versus the die-hard fans. The die-hard fans are familiar with, and loyal to, the current name, while critics primarily understand its derogatory nature. No matter which way team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL go, they’ll anger one side or the other. It comes down to the decision of how the owners want to be remembered and what they stand for.

4. A Name has Heritage

Most names evoke a sense of history and legacy. Generations will very often pass along an affinity for purchasing a certain brand or cheering for one team. The children of these children see nothing wrong with rooting for this team because they have history with the name. However, in parallel, families have grown up knowing that a specific term holds its own derogatory heritage. Again, Washington’s NFL team has run itself into a corner.

5. A Name has Investment

Washington’s NFL team made significant investments in its name for decades with relatively little resistance. However, as Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” Activists’ voices are being heard and public opinion is shifting toward their support. The NFL team may have to consider its options and evaluate the long-term investments in its name. Although Snyder plans to appeal the cancelation of its trademarks it’s clear that they’ve lost the public opinion. They risk seeing millions of dollars in knockoff merchandise being sold at half price, as they perhaps consider cutting losses and investing anew by changing its brand.

At the end of the day, everyone must ask themselves, “What’s in a name?” Of course, it’s never ideal to change a well-established name but, when push comes to shove, it might be best option to give ground and acknowledge the shift in public opinion.

What does a brand name mean to you?

 

Photo courtesy of Jack Doresy

Friday5 | Your Next Campaign Hashtag

By now, almost everyone knows the potential of hashtags to destroy or create an amazing campaign. It has become a critical part of any social media activation to select a good hashtag that not only follows best practices but also captures the theme, messaging or call to action of the campaign. You’ll need to choose a concise, conversational and memorable hashtag while avoiding hashtag hijacking. This can be a painstaking and nerve-racking exercise.

Of course it’s best to brainstorm during the planning stage with a variety of people but there’s also a few online resources to help jog your creative juices and explore the wide open world of hashtags. Here are five online tools to help you come up with your next campaign hashtag. Although most of these tools have paid “pro” version, the free “basic” versions available meet most needs while brainstorming a campaign hashtag. Any of these resources may provide the jolt needed to come up with your own campaign hashtag.

1. Hashtagify

Hashtagify is a “visual hashtag explorer” which allows you to search hashtags, related hashtags and basic analytics for free. Based on a one percent sample size of recent tweets, this online tool is able to provide other hashtags used in conjunction with the one you searched. For example, if you search #Play it’ll show other hashtags that have been used in the same post as #Play and include basic usage analytics of that hashtag. Hashtagify also provides the top six influencers on Twitter using the hashtag, recent top tweets, usage patterns and spelling variations. The usage patterns option also allows you to compare the popularity of multiple hashtags in the past two months, perfect for deciding whether to use #July4th or #IndependenceDay.

2. Hashtag Generator

Hashtag Generator is a simple tool to help spark ideas. Type in a simple sentence such as your campaign’s name, call to action or key message and out comes three hashtag options. The first option will take out all the spaces in your sentence. The second option takes out all the vowels. The third option makes an acronym out of your sentence. Below each of the three options, Hashtag Generator aggregates all the posts which recently used that hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+. It may not provide the perfect hashtag but rather help you step outside the box and think of new combinations.

3.  Tagdef

Acronyms are a popular type of hashtag. They say a lot in a few characters and are frequently used by people in the know. However, a seemingly simple acronym could mean something completely different on social media. That’s why before committing to a hashtag acronym check it out on Tagdef, the online dictionary of hashtags. Type in your acronym and Tagdef will let you know what it means. If there’s no definition, you’re most likely in the clear but better do a manual search just in case. It’s also a great tool for social media #noobs so they can #ROFL at the latest #TBT photos.

4. Trendsmap

Need a hashtag for a specific location? Trendsmap provides users a visual experience to see what is trending based on location. The world map in Trendsmap allows you to zoom into a specific country, region, and even city to see what people are talking about on social media. The trending hashtags are clickable and allow registered users to see more specific information on the hashtags. Although this tool won’t generate a hashtag for you it’s a useful tool to see what is currently being talked about on social media around the world. Maybe there’s another event happening in a city and your brand can play off its popularity.

5. Hashtags.org

In addition to providing search and analytics data, much like the other resources mentioned, Hashtags.org is also a great hub for trending and tracking hashtags. One feature allows the users to see popular hashtag in specific topic groups such as TV/entertainment, tech, sports or business. The online resource also provides social media industry insights for marketers such as upcoming social media conferences, news article about the latest hashtags and other trends. A great resource as you begin to research and select a hashtag for any reason.

What resources have you used to come up with a campaign hashtag?

 

Image credit: misspixels

Friday5: Win the Social Media Battle During the World Cup

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was one of the first international sporting events since the global explosion of social media. In the four years since, online citizens around the world have matured in terms of setting the stage to make this year’s matches one of the biggest social media events of the year. Fans, celebrities and brands will be posting constantly about the World Cup until one team comes out victorious. Here are five tips to help your content succeed during the next few weeks.

1. Break Through the Clutter

Like any large cultural event nowadays social media will be the heart of every campaign trying to attach itself to the World Cup. The social media space will be cluttered with brands fighting for consumer attention throughout the matches. The big brands and companies most likely have contracts and licenses with the FIFA World Cup—they’re the only ones who can and should legally do so. But for the smaller budget brands it’s even more pertinent to break through the clutter with outstanding content. To win the battle on social media requires creative, real-time content and sufficient reach that stands apart from the other noise and drives real connection with consumers.

2. Define Your Core Audience Group

There are millions of people getting excited for the World Cup. But if you break it down, there’s basically two types of World Cup people: the super fan and the casual fan. The super fans are really passionate, diehard soccer fans who’ll be watching as many games as possible, reading news articles and posting frequently online about all the matches. The casual fans are there for the spectacle and to root for their favorite countries. They’re more interested in the popular cultural event rather than the matches themselves. Understand who you are trying to connect with and design content for that core audience group.

3. Act Like A Publisher

For brands to win the World Cup social media battle, they should act like publishers. Transform the brand’s social channels as a content destination for the World Cup. Post content that your core audience group wants to come back for day after day. This will also help your content succeed and break through the clutter.

4. Deliver Emotion Through Content

The World Cup is a game of emotions. Being well-prepared to deliver all the emotions through content is a must. The pre-planned content and anticipated content should be put in place covering moments that will happen—wins and losses—and moments that will most likely happen—bad calls or power outages. Most importantly, content managers must be agile on the reactive content reflecting unpredictable moments in real-time: the goals, the achievements, the failures, the celebrations, the skills, etc. Every moment counts and should not be missed out. It helps brands deliver emotions and ultimately build affinity with an audience on social media.

5. Commit to Real-time Marketing

The biggest difference that sets the social media winners apart would be acting in real-time rather than following a pre-planned execution. Coming up with real-time content that reflects exactly the native conversations is crucial. Then, deciding the right time for paid media helps the content achieve the reach and stand out from the crowd. Fundamentally, to make brands super-relevant and break through the cluttered environment, we must strongly commit to real-time marketing.

People all around the world are getting ready for the four week football frenzy in Brazil. Enjoy the World Cup and see what will be the most talked-about brands this summer.

How is your brand preparing for the World Cup?

Image credit: Joe Shlabotnik

Friday5: How YouTube Enhances Stories

“People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel” –Maya Angelou.

This past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to sit in the third row at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as YouTube put on an event called YouTube Onstage: Live From the Kennedy Center. The event not only touched on YouTube’s ninth birthday, but also celebrated how social media and digital platforms have changed the video medium. The event was incredibly insightful and made me think how PR professionals use video to tell stories. Here are five ways YouTube makes videos thrive:

1. Drive Philanthropy and Advocacy

One of the first presenters was Mark Johnson, the founder of Playing For Change, who revealed how YouTube enabled him to make his dream of changing the world a reality. Mark traveled the world to record videos of musicians singing the same song to build awareness for different causes around the world. The video Stand By Me quickly went viral earning over 60MM views, spreading Playing For Change’s message. YouTube was the stepping stone for Playing For Change to build global awareness for its causes. Due to the Playing For Change’s videos and foundation, they’ve been able to create a lasting, positive change in many communities around the world, see for yourself. Due to YouTube’s global active users and the powerful emotions spurred by videos, it’s the perfect platform to rally people around a cause.

2. Encourage Self-Expression

YouTube encourages passion and self-expression. At Wednesday night’s event, Lindsey Stirling spoke about how she uses YouTube to create music the way she wants to — through violin instrumentals and dancing. Her unique style has led to a YouTube channel with over 4MM subscribers (more than Lady Gaga) and over half a billion views. Stirling discussed how YouTube creates a place for collaboration and not competition, which has led to her current success.  YouTube lends itself to be the platform for everyone to express themselves and share their passions with their community.

3. Tell A Story

Every client has a story to tell. We have the ability to use the Internet to tell each story across a multitude of platforms. Our job as digital experts is to break from the traditional and find different ways to tell stories. Shane Koyczan became famous on YouTube for his spoken-word performances and a moving performance with DJ Mike Relm, another YouTube sensation. Koyczan now has over 14.5MM YouTube views and has given countless talks on education at TED. His TED Talk on popularity even led to a classroom tool that provides teachers new ways to discuss anti-bullying.

4. Build a Community

Did you know that Pharrell had trouble getting radio play for the song “Happy” when he was first trying to market it? Yep, at the event, the emcee Sal Masekela said that Pharrell went to YouTube to share his music a different way, and I think we all know what happened next. A global movement and community was built to share and spread happiness. YouTube enables anyone and everyone to express and build a community. When clients say, “no, YouTube won’t work for my brand,” sometimes it is worth stepping back and taking the time to show how YouTube is your own “TV station” just waiting for you to fill it with stories. YouTube provides a vast audience base where communities can be built and mobilized through video.

5. Drive Action

Zach Sobiech’s music video “Clouds” was first released on YouTube to drive awareness about the osteosarcoma cancer which eventually took his life May 2013. His video became an inspiration to many including musicians that covered the song. Because of one video, one story, his goal to help people drove action. Watch the tribute performance from the Kennedy Center. From Sobiech we can learn that YouTube provides a channel that reaches large and diverse audiences that may drive action like fund raising.

As a digital strategist and a music enthusiast, YouTube’s event strengthened my opinion that YouTube is much more than just an upload channel. It is a place where stories come to life.

How can you tell your client’s story on YouTube?

Friday5: Big Moves and What They Could Mean for Digital Marketers

In the past couple of months there have been several high profile mergers, acquisitions and agreements between top-tier companies in the digital and technology industry.  With all these big announcements worth billions of dollars it’s important to stay on top of all the moves and more importantly understand how this could impact digital marketing. This week’s Friday5 will focus on five major announcements and what they could mean for digital marketers.

 1. AT&T and DirecTV

AT&T has been trying to merge with other large service providers for years but keeps getting blocked by regulators—T-Mobile in 2011 and Vodafone earlier this year. In its latest attempt AT&T has found a new focus, DirecTV. This past week AT&T announced a potential deal that would merge the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier with the largest satellite TV provider. The deal—reportedly worth upwards of $50 billion—would allow AT&T’s U-Verse streaming media to access DirecTV’s 70 million households with high-speed connectivity even in the most rural of areas. It would also provide DirecTV’s video content to more wireless users across the U.S.

What does this mean for digital marketers? Clearly everyone is aware that the demand for high speed and quality video streaming is a paramount concern for today’s consumer. This deal—among other implications including how and when people can access DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package—would provide even more consumers access to bundled TV programming, deliver more video content to mobile devices and wireless service from a single company on mobile devices and tablets.

2. YouTube and Twitch

Although nothing has officially been signed, Google’s YouTube is looking to buy Twitch—a live streaming platform for video-gamers to watch others play videogames—for an estimated $1 billion. As many reports and analyses have figured out, this isn’t just about YouTube firmly planting itself in the video-gamer culture but capitalizing on Twitch’s live-streaming, social TV. This is a media model that Twitch has successfully figured out in the past three years. Twitch by itself does boast impressive stats—45 million monthly users streaming an average of 106 minutes daily, as well as recent integration with Microsoft’s Xbox One* and Sony PlayStation4. Some big implications to come from this deal could improve YouTube’s ability to live-cast events and incorporate a more social aspect to watching TV, events, or concerts.

3. Apple and Beats

Apple recently announced a $3.2 billion deal to buy Beats Electronics, the streaming service and consumer audio equipment maker co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre. A possible motivation for this deal is to boost Apple’s iTunes Radio’s floundering performance in the streaming music space. Pandora and Spotify have claimed the top spots in streaming radio and Apple is trying to remain a viable competitor.  Not only could this deal bring iTunes Radio back to the competitor’s stage, but it would also increase Apple’s already robust product portfolio to include consumer audio equipment.

4. Facebook and WhatsApp

Back in February, Facebook announced a $16 billion acquisition for WhatsApp, an international messaging application with more than 450 million users. This purchase follows Facebook’s desire to remain the top social network, whether communicating one-on-one or to your entire network. Facebook will mostly likely continue to find popular apps and bring them into the fold to expand its reach and usage among users around the world, remember when Instagram was by itself before a $1 billion purchase in 2012?

5. Google and Titan Aerospace

Probably one of the most interesting acquisitions of late is Google’s purchase of Titan Aerospace for a reported $60 million. Early reports suggest that Google’s intention is to increase Internet connectivity to rural areas around the globe, allowing even the most remote people to have access to high-speed internet. What does this mean for digital marketers? It means even more consumers might be able to connect to the internet at a reasonable speed and interact with your content. This even has applications in disaster areas where internet connectivity is down due to flooding, wild fires, or other natural disasters.

How do you see these business deals affecting the digital media landscape?

*Microsoft is an Edelman client

Image credit: Hubble Heritage

Friday5: Tips for Building a Fatigue-Free Content Strategy

My first days as a community manager seemed simple. I was excited by the ostensibly endless sources of new content. Each morning I was a woman on a mission, clicking around the web and hot on the trails for engaging content.

I quickly learned, though, that keeping content fresh isn’t always that effortless. With today’s incessant demand for content – and pressures to create real-time content across numerous channels – it can be easy to fall victim to content churn. Having an efficient content strategy is one way to guard against this. Below are five tips for building a content strategy that can help you get the most out of your efforts.

1. Define Your Audience

Who are you talking to? Any effective content strategy must be grounded in a deep understanding of your target audience. Know who you are trying to reach and what action your content is meant to inspire. You must understand your audience’s preferences in order to engage in meaningful conversation and provide valuable content.

2. Get Organized

A well-designed content strategy begins with planning. Before diving into a monthly content calendar with fun hooks like “Hug Your Cat Day”—June 4 for those who are interested—consider the best information, format and channel, or distribution vehicles  for your content. In other words, make sure you know what you are saying, why it is significant and how it is being delivered.

3. Build a Multidisciplinary, Engaged Team

Involving team members from different business units and functions will diversify your existing content to keep it fresh and new. Too often, different perspectives, connections and available content exist in a vacuum and are trapped within other teams. Creating a sense of community and shared responsibility for content will help you access new storylines. Provide the teams with the benefits of producing quality content – such as higher traffic, increased consumer interactions and improved search results – can also help to get other teams to contribute.

4. Focus Your Efforts

In 1988, the New York Times found that the average American received 5,000 branded messages per day. Now, 26 years later, brand messaging has only proliferated and companies manage an average of 178 corporate owned accounts. You can’t be in all places at all times, nor should you. Instead of trying to boil the ocean, content strategists should remember that the old adage “less is more” often holds true. Identify the channels which make the most sense for your audience, content and goals and dedicate your efforts there to keep content creation more manageable. It will also help you avoid diluting both your messages and communities across hundreds of channels.  Also remember to reevaluate your channels at regular intervals. Just because something worked well for delivering your messages five years ago doesn’t mean it should continue hobbling along today.

5. Gather Insights and Adjust Content Accordingly

Today, we have an unprecedented amount of real-time intelligence and data at our fingertips. Measuring this is a key part of any successful content process, increasing brand relevance and long-term success. Simply creating content without measuring its performance will have you spinning your wheels, investing in content with no knowledge of what is performing well or how users are engaging with your messages. Instead, keep a close eye on content performance to help you optimize your efforts and better invest time and resources in content that has a proven track record with your audience.

Don’t let content burnout get the best of you. Set clear objectives, listen to your audience, engage your team and focus your efforts to create an efficient and effective content strategy.

How do you ensure your content stays fresh?

Image crfedit: Graham Binns

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