• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 17, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • The success of Facebook’s new search function depends entirely on how well users respond to the perceived benefits of the feature vs. its potential creep factor. When Facebook first announced the new search tool, people were quick to point out its potential to unearth old and embarrassing posts, and make Facebook stalking that much easier. From a Facebook user’s point of view, will the usefulness of this feature really outweigh its potential for embarrassment?

    The success of Facebook’s new search function depends entirely on how well users respond to the perceived benefits of the feature vs. its potential creep factor. When Facebook first announced the new search tool, people were quick to point out its potential to unearth old and embarrassing posts, and make Facebook stalking that much easier. From a Facebook user’s point of view, will the usefulness of this feature really outweigh its potential for embarrassment?

    Time.com reported the roll out of this new feature as ‘Facebook taking a thinly veiled shot at Google’, which will effectively mean the death of GooglePlus. While this may be likely, it is questionable whether Facebook's new feature will prove to be useful enough to truly detract people away from using good old reliable Google.  According to Facebook’s Vice President of Search Tom Stocky

    “You’ve told us the most important thing is being able to find posts you’ve seen before, and now you can. With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer.”

    The issue with this is that it’s already fairly straightforward to search for those things, and it remains to be seen whether it will take less time for Facebook’s search algorithm to accurately predict a search intention rather than the user simply clicking on the multitude of Facebook navigation tools that already exist. It is also quite possible Facebook’s new search feature will end up mimicking Twitter’s hashtag feature- a tool for people to jump onto discussions based on topics and trending news with Twitter users around the world. It’s fairly obvious now that Facebook’s own version of the hashtag functionality proved largely to be pointless. The reason Twitter’s search function works so well is because:

    1. Tweeters are actively looking to voice their opinion on trending topics.
    2. The search function is mostly used for links to ‘newsworthy content’ from users perceived to be trustworthy and authoritative on those topics.

    The difference with Facebook’s search is that these discussions will be limited to your Facebook friends and the Pages you’ve liked- and people are more likely to trust content from their peers over company pages, which is what Facebook is banking on for the success of this feature.  While it is true that people view content from their personal networks as more trustworthy, it remains that social media is still only one out of several research tools used by consumers before they commit to purchase. People will still be researching forums, reviews, etc on brands and products, and Google will likely remain the preferred platform for this function. It will be worth keeping an eye out on what kind of impact Facebook search makes next year, and indeed if it is capable of encroaching on Google’s territory in 2015.

    The way we get our news and how news is reported has changed drastically in the past decade, and with social media comes a rise of social journalism that is once again evolving the current state and future impact of journalism.

    Even though recreational social media usage may be on the decline in some ways, more “functional” uses of social media, and its purposes, are on the rise through the use of “social journalism.”

    The current state of journalism looks quite differently than it did just years ago, and the creation of social media sites has evolved the field of journalism even further, giving the average person the power to make and report the news like never before. We get our news instantly now, and most of that news comes via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. With the rise of social media as a means to obtain and share news and information has also come the emergence of social news networks. Social news networks are online publications that work as a community of writers and editors that choose what news is, and what’s not. Described as a sort of “news bank,” social news websites like Reddit and Digg allow users to submit news stories, articles, pictures and videos to share with other users. Editors then determine the items to be featured. For contributing writers, these publications are excellent ways to get noticed, and for editors, it’s a great way to experience more journalistic freedom and possibly make an impact on the larger news media circuit. And many of these stories go viral, bringing a few minutes of fame to potentially unknown writers or publications.

    Just this past month, eBay founder and creator of the news organization First Look Media, Pierre Omidyar, launched a new social journalism project with the goal of bringing ”global news directly to you through social media” while encouraging a community of readers to participate by pitching stories and using social media to comment and share. This new effort by Omidyar, called Reported.ly, is a new project that will “use a team of professional journalists to sift through social media to deliver important global news, using the same social platform,” with full editorial independence. This is big news considering Omidyar’s other online publication, The Intercept, founded in February of 2014, is the platform used to report on the documents released by Edward Snowden.

    Sites like this and many others are a natural emergence considering the number of social media sites available for use to share and contribute stories, and one must wonder: what’s the future of major media news sites like NBC, CNN and Fox News? For years, the term “citizen journalism” has been used to describe the reporting of news by citizens, instead of professional reporters. The idea of citizens as news makers got its start during major events like the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement where journalists were not always present. Using tools like Twitter, average people became newsmakers, and social networking has increased the prevalence of citizen journalism, making it possible for anyone to report the news, and most of the time quicker than major news networks who would have to send a reporter and photographer. While it’s not necessary a “phenomenon,” social news networks are changing the way news is manufactured and delivered and while some major news publications are embracing citizen journalism, time will only tell what the overall impact on journalism as a whole will be. 

    Serial made podcasts vogue, and brought back the allure of unsolved mysteries. Now that season one is over, we look at the social activity around this NPR phenomenon.

    The first season of the true crime podcast “Serial” has officially come to an end. This investigative journalism podcast quickly became a cultural phenomenon making everyone ask, “Have you listened to ‘Serial’?”

    Since October, listeners waited patiently each Thursday to download the latest episode and now that the final episode has been released, we wanted to look at the podcast’s entire social lifecycle.

    What made this podcast have such mass appeal? Such social share-ability? Well, it’s a puzzling story of true crime and involves a real and very much unsolved case. Also, Sarah Koenig’s voice and delivery keeps us all hooked.

    We’ve been tracking the podcast using Brandwatch social listening and analytics and have seen more than 524,000 mentions of “Serial” since the beginning of October when it first aired.

    This might be the first time in history a podcast has racked up half a million social media mentions (don’t quote me on that, we haven’t done the actual tracking to say with any certainty).

    As is to be expected, we saw an increase in mentions every Thursday, especially in December as the season started winding down.

    • December 4: 24,800+ mentions

    • December 11: 31,500+ mentions

    • December 18: 47,000+ mentions


    Advertiser, MailChimp, continued to be one of the most popular topics in discussing the podcast over the past few weeks.

    As we have mentioned before, sponsor of the podcast MailChimp hit social media gold when they decided to advertise on the first season of “Serial”. One of the most popular conversations surrounding “Serial”, besides the key players in the too-true tale, is MailChimp or MailKimp.

    Both versions of the company’s name have garnered more than 16,000 mentions. The parody of the mispronunciation as MailKimp itself has received nearly 9,000 mentions. We’re pretty sure that “Serial” has brands and businesses knocking down its doors to get in on season two. Personally, I’d love to personally sponsor “Serial” and hear people mispronounce “Dinah”.  

    The top hashtags have included #serial (59,600+ tweets and retweets), #serialpodcast (34,000+ tweets and retweets), and #mailkimp (3,500 tweets and retweets).

    “Serial” also continued to make its mark on other countries. While the United States has also had the most mentions of “Serial” (70%), conversations were seen in the United Kingdom (8%), and Canada (4%). If you look at the mentions map below, you’ll see that countries from Australia to Brazil, and many others in between are talking about “Serial”.  


    One of the most popular tweets we saw came from Best Buy on December 11 when the brand tweeted, “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone. #Serial”.

    Due to backlash, Best Buy then deleted the Tweet, but not before it received more than 1,600 retweets. Best Buy also tweeted an apology later that day. It might’ve been a creative idea, but not a great social strategy considering how sensitive this real-life case is. It seems it’s too easy to forget that real people are involved.

    A second season of the podcast is slated, and discussions of what Sarah Koenig and her team should investigate are swimming around the interwebs. We have seen mentions of:

    • The little girl who mispronounces MailChimp   

    • Sony hack

    • The casting process of “Annie”

    • Zachary Witman murder case mentioned in episode 10

    • Ferguson

    What case or issue do you think the next season should cover?

    Another year over...almost

    It's hard to believe that we will be welcoming 2015 in less than two weeks. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on trending stories on social media and viral campaigns for the rest of the month.

    Next week we plan to publish a holiday wrap up of fun “Festive Facts” we have been gathering data for this holiday season. Think Elf on the Shelf, holiday tipping, and the world’s favorite Christmas movies.

    If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Brandwatch or social data, leave it in comments.

    Happy Friday!

    For a while there, companies were disproportionately focused on search marketing. And then, they were focused on social media marketing. Next, content marketing. All with a little mobile mixed in. What in the h*** ever happened to the old marketing mix, where everything was supposed to fit together?

    If you read my last post, which spurred this follow-up post, then you know that you have nine business days to get your B2B marketing plan done for 2015. Get on it, slow guy. Like now.

    While the discussion of the five content marketing trends that should fuel your B2B marketing plan was an active one, it was limited to content-driven marketing. Yes, content should be a major part of your 2015 marketing plan, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for many organizations.

    So let’s go broader. Here are the five somewhat-misunderstood B2B marketing trends that everyone ought to be paying attention to in the planning process.

    1. Truly Integrated Marketing: Not Social. Not Content. Not Search. All of Them. Together.

    For a while there, companies were disproportionately focused on search marketing. And then, they were focused on social media marketing. Next, content marketing. All with a little mobile mixed in.

    What in the hell ever happened to the old marketing mix, where everything was supposed to fit together? It’s as if the Internet bubble (all eight of them) turned marketers and business strategists into sheep. Follow the proven formula, and you will be safe, Mister or Miss Marketeer.

    Fortunately, it seems that brands, both mainstream and independent (a nicer way of saying “small”), have finally recognized the power of truly integrated, online-meets-offline, digital-meets-print, let’s-make-it-all-hum-together “campaigns.”

    It’s about f-ing time.

    My suggestion: Go old school. One message. Multiple mediums and formats.

    If you’re at a loss for how to do this, take a look at what Airbnb is doing with integrated campaigns. This is not JUST content marketing, people.

    2. Mobile: Think Mobile Doesn’t Matter for Your Business? Check Your Numbers, Hotshot.

    Are you targeting a 60+ audience?

    No? Then get your act together on mobile.

    If you’re reading this and you don’t understand why you should be paying more attention to mobile, then maybe you should find yourself a new profession. If you’re still willing to learn, consider the following:

    • Analytics firm BIA/Kelsey has predicted that mobile search queries will overtake desktop queries by 2015.
    • Mobile broadband will continue to grow rapidly and by 2015, one billion people will use it as their only form of Internet access, which is 28 percent of all users globally or 13 percent of the world’s population.
    • According to Google's Mobile Search Moments Study, three out of four mobile searches trigger follow-up actions, whether that is further research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase, or word-of-mouth sharing.

    While you may not be able to act on all of my trend suggestions, this is not an area you can choose to ignore if you want to consider yourself a true — and hopefully successful —marketer for 2015.

    3. Sales/Marketing Alignment: Stop the Nonsense.

    There’s no denying it – while most business leaders know the right thing to do is to get their sales and marketing teams aligned, few are successful in that endeavor. One would think that with the increased visibility into marketing’s impact on revenue, along with the rise in sales-enhancing technology platforms such as marketing automation, this situation would be rapidly improving. In most cases, though, it’s not.

    Sadly, the cause of the lack of alignment can usually be traced to old-school leadership at both the C-level and sales executive levels — the gray-haired, closed-minded types who can’t get out of their own way. Because they don’t trust their marketing leadership, or understand marketing technology, they view both as pointless.

    And yet the data confirms that these types ought to just get out of the game. MarketingProfs tell us that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing have 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates.

    Make this the year that marketing gets out from under the thumb of sales to form a harmonious, equal marriage.

    4. Responsive Design: Just How Important Is It?

    If you don’t really know what responsive design is, don’t feel too bad. It’s one of those terms the techies made up to frighten the average business person into statements like “Oh shit. Someone just told me that our website isn’t based on responsive design. They called it RD. We’re screwed.”

    You are kind of screwed if you don’t address this sooner than later, but don’t let the techies scare you. Responsive design is a simple concept. People use desktops, smartphones, and tablets to view your website and emails. You want these websites and emails to adjust elegantly to the browser on each of these devices, so that your users go through a similar, but device-tailored experience.

    My advice on this is basic. If you’re building a website in 2015, make sure your scope of work includes details on what is included in responsive design and review some live samples from the person or company that will be doing the work—to ensure you’re getting the real deal.

    5. Print: Fine, Maybe It’s Not Dead, Yvonne.

    Don’t call it a comeback. Print’s been here for years. Rockin its peers and putting suckas in fear.

    Thank you, LL Cool J. You just made my job a lot easier.

    Print is not dead. It has just changed. Just ask my colleague, Yvonne Lyons, who has been busy over the past year helping our B2B clients conceptualize, design, and publish everything from new-school brochures to full-blown books.

    Use print to enhance that integrated marketing campaign. It requires a clear understanding of your audience, but if you have that, print allows you do dive deeper into your subject matter with those folks, attract higher-profile contributors, offer enhanced design and visuals, and more.

    No, print is not dead, friends. It’s a new opportunity for you.

    Conclusion: Dive In.

    If you feel like you’re lagging behind on these five trends, rest assured that you are not alone. Most B2B organizations are already addressing some — but certainly not all — of these trends in a comprehensive manner.  

    I remind you again – you have nine business days. The clock is ticking.

    Need more planning help? Start by identifying where you currently stand with marketing via a marketing assessment. Contact us to learn more.

    Nokia made a coy attempt at social promotion with their "Black Box" campaign. While impressive in it's boldness, the plan ultimately failed and this is why.

    Nokia recently tried their hand at a social media teaser campaign for a new product they were about to launch. Attempting to emulate giants like Apple and Google didn’t seem to go all that well for the Finnish company, though.

    Nokia Was Up to Something

    The former handset manufacturer – Nokia recently sold their handset unit to Microsoft – tweeted a teaser that featured a black box with the company logo engraved on it. The ad came with the headline “18.11.14 – We’re up to something.”

    Now, whoever came up with the idea in Nokia’s marketing department probably wasn’t expecting the world’s reaction at all. Instead of every social media network and blog being atwitter with curiosity, with fans frothing at the mouth to discover what new product Nokia could possibly be launching, what they got was a cold dose of reality.

    Nokia is no longer a relevant brand.

    Certainly not nearly as relevant as Apple, for example. Had Apple done the same thing – which they have on previous occasions – social media networks would have exploded with everyone and their grandmother speculating on what Apple would be announcing.

    However, other than a few mentions on hi-tech blogs, the “buzz” died out quickly. Instead of people wondering “what could it be?”, they were simply moving on with a shrug and a “who cares?”

    And then they made their announcement, which wasn’t as earth-shattering as their teaser made it out to be. Nokia launched a $249 7.9-inch, Android-based tablet. And no, the internet was not on fire with people ordering the tablet the second it launched.

    The True Mystery behind Nokia’s Teaser Campaign

    The real mystery is what was Nokia’s marketing department thinking? It seems rather obvious that they’re still stuck in the “good old days” when Nokia was one of the world’s leading handset manufacturers. Had they attempted this type of campaign then, they would have likely gotten the reaction they were expecting.

    But after Nokia lost so much of their market share and shrank to become a small fish in a massive ocean, it’s no surprise their campaign didn’t generate any buzz at all.

    It actually makes you wonder if someone in Nokia’s marketing campaign is so enamored with social media marketing that they thought all they had to do was launch a teaser to get people interested. This clearly shows a lack of real understanding for the driving inertia behind viral marketing campaigns.

    Other brands have been successful because they have cultivated social media presences and  understand that the key to success is long-term engagement. You can’t just show up today, launch a teaser tomorrow, and expect fireworks. It takes time and effort to build your brand, to build a fan base and to get people on your side.

    Then again, maybe Nokia has a secret strategy. Maybe their goal really is to show us how not to do social media.  Or any kind of promotion for that matter.

    Don’t Tease If You Can’t Deliver

    Nokia isn’t the only company guilty of using teaser campaigns and having them backfire. At least in Nokia’s case it was merely a case of “no one cares.”

    Other attempts have resulted in serious backlash from consumers, such as the “Hello Friend” campaign Bright House ran a few years ago, which generated lots of buzz but completely backfired because the “product” didn’t meet expectations.

    Many teaser campaigns fail because the buzz that is created around the product is so great that the product rarely meets expectations.

    Companies like Apple, Facebook and Google don’t succeed just because they’re big brands. They succeed because they constantly over-deliver. They tease, but they deliver. And because they have consistently delivered great products and services, people are more than willing to forgive them a small blunder.

    In Nokia’s case, though, they haven’t delivered in a long time. They’ve made promises but have done little to back them up. And they have faded from people’s minds. They have well and truly lost their fans and it’s going to be a long time before they can recover, especially since their deal with Microsoft states they can’t sell smartphones under the Nokia brand until 2016.

    So, until Nokia can rebuild its fan base by delivering quality products, the company is better off sticking to more traditional marketing strategies that don’t include being a tease and not delivering.