14 social media facts, frivolities, forecasts, fails and fallacies

Another year, and by now you probably think you have a pretty good understanding of social media. Perhaps so. Then you won’t mind if we put that to the test, will you? So strap yourself in as we take you on a journey through what you need to know as we plunge into 2014. 

  1. FACT: LinkedIn Kiwi visitor numbers grew by a very impressive 53% over the most recent 12 month period. The site grew from 520,000 in December 2012 to 798,000 in November 2013, according to comScore. Two thirds of Kiwi LinkedIn visitors are over the age of 35.
  2. FALLACY: that teens are abandoning Facebook. Mashable has just weighed in on the topic: “Facebook may have a teen problem. Maybe. Facebook does, however, have a media problem around the now widely adopted perception that teens are abandoning the site, or using it less. Or something. Nobody seems quite sure.” Actually, if we compare (via Nielsen Online Ratings) the numbers of Kiwi under 25s who visited Facebook in March 2013 (754,000) versus September 2013 (675,000), there’s clearly a decline but hardly a rout.
  3. FAIL: the online world held its collective breath in December 2013 as Justine Sacco, head of public relations for UK media giant IAC, flew towards Africa blissfully unaware of the uproar caused by her final tweet before boarding her flight. The tweet (you can view it here) was universally condemned as racist, resulting in the hashtag #HasJustineLandedYet trending worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Ms Sacco lost her job, her former employer apologised profusely and several AIDS charities received donations from appalled twitterati.
  4. FRIVOLITY: YouTube’s Top 10 Trending Videos of 2013 included Foxes, trucks, animals, babies—and the Chatroulette version of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball. Caution, may be NSFAWAASOH [Not Suitable For Anyone Without An Adolescent Sense Of Humour].
  5. FORECAST: Advertorial is back in fashion for 2014, but this time it goes by the trendy new label “native advertising”. Why is it back? Because consumers are more likely to trust content that looks like editorial. Why the new name? Umm, if we were cynical, we’d be inclined to suggest a little bit of smoke and mirrors might be involved. There’s a useful Pros & Cons of Native Advertising article here.
  6. FACT: Google continues to integrate its social layer throughout the search giant’s operations. In December 2013, that integration included the trial of a whole new breed of social ads: as we noted a few weeks ago, Google is doing a thing that was probably inevitable with its social network Google+: It’s testing a new +Post ad system in the form of promoted posts that translates public Google+ content from their brand sites into a display ad that can run across Google’s Display Ad network. The big benefit: the new offering provides a way for those who see the ads to reshare content directly from the ad, leave a comment or question that will be answerable via its G+ account, or even start a Hangout instantly to chat with someone live.
  7. FALLACY: That likes are what matter on Facebook. There’s been a bit of press noise in recent months about major New Zealand marketers who have amassed plenty of likes on Facebook. Good for them, but we’re more interested in those marketers who are effectively engaging with their Facebook followers (the stat that Facebook calls “People Talking About This”. For example, we wrote (back in August) about Made4Baby, This Kiwi brand, which provides natural skincare for babies & children, at the time had only 2,457 likes but was talked about by 14,300 in a single week, representing 584.2% Engagement, nearly six times as many people talking about the Facebook page as it has followers. Now that’s what we call social marketing. 
  8. FORECAST: 70% of small businesses plan to use the Facebook mobile app for business development and marketing in 2014according to a MarketingProfs survey. That’s not surprising: 73% of Facebook’s monthly active users now connect to the social network through their mobile devices, according to Facebook reports. That has particular implications for Facebook advertising: standard Facebook ads (those that show up on the right hand side of the page on the Facebook website) don’t display on mobile.
  9. FAIL: Nokia New Zealand tweeted a mysterious obscenity to its followers in November 2013. The offending tweet was promptly deleted and quickly followed by an apology and a promise to investigate. The company later said a hacker was the likely culprit. Are your social media passwords safe and mostly uncrackable?
  10. FRIVOLITY: Those who do best on Twitter: celebrities. For proof, look no further than the most popular Twitter accounts. Right now, Katy Perry is on top of the world, with more than 49 million followers, followed closely by Justin Bieber on 48.6 million. Lady Gaga is next, with more than 41 million hanging on her every word. The most powerful man in the world, US President Barack Obama, could barely manage fourth place with his 40.9 million followers. Top New Zealand celebrity: teen sensation Lorde, with a mere 817,000 followers (still well ahead of what we would call the biggest New Zealand celebrity brand, the All Blacks (289,987 followers). Perhaps Tourism New Zealand (53,615 followers) could sponsor Lorde’s Twitter account?
  11. FACT: Facebook is killing Sponsored Stories from April this year. But fret not, Facebook marketers, the social network will still leverage its knowledge of its users, just differently. The changes, according to ReadWrite, “were in large part due to a lawsuit against Facebook claiming sponsored stories violated user privacy. The crux of the $20 million lawsuit Facebook settled in August 2013 hinged on the social network using users’ likeness in advertising without asking or compensating them.” However “social context—stories about social actions your friends have taken, such as liking a page or checking in to a restaurant—is now eligible to appear next to all ads shown to friends on Facebook”.
  12. FAIL: Twitter Vine users are filming a scary amount of video footage while driving. Mashable reports that “Whether to yell at crazy drivers or poke fun at unknowing passersby, Vine users are watching and filming their own Vine videos behind the wheel. ‘I speculate that video recording with Vine might cause more visual distraction than voice calling or speech-based conversation,’ says Jibo He, assistant professor of psychology at Wichita State University.” You think?
  13. FALLACY: Establish a Presence Everywhere On. Every. Single. Social. Network. That ranks amongst one of the worst pieces of social media advice you will ever hear, according to Sharon Michaels. She makes the point that there are just too many social networks out there, and suggests instead that “The saner thing to do would be to take stock of your market, resources and objectives, choose three to four social platforms that your audience is most active on, and use them dedicatedly. For instance, if your business deals with travel, interior designing, landscaping or fashion, Pinterest would be a lot more useful as compared to LinkedIn. However, the latter makes for an invaluable resource if you are offering products and services for business professionals.”
  14. FORECAST: Investment in Social Media in 2014 will become a necessity, not a luxury. Forbes argues that “businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic and revenue. As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, I believe we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.”

We could go on, but we think that’s best left to our various courses. Check them out here

  • Michael Carney has been in the marketing game since 1971 and online since 1987 and he can variously described as a digital marketing trainer, adman, media director, strategist, researcher, copywriter, consultant, author and playwright. 
  • This story originally appeared on socialmedia.org.nz.

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