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Friday, 21 March 2014

Children need ‘true grit’ to be able to cope with social media

A leading headmaster has stated that children are being made to feel like the “inadequate stars of a second-rate biopic”. This comes after the increasing level of personal scrutiny aimed at youngsters on the Internet, and many are taking the position that social media is now a negative thing. The risks are there to see but there is also another side of social media that can be beneficial.

Children and social media
Source: huffingtonpost.com

Andrew Halls also said that sites such as Facebook, Ask.fm Little Gossip and Instagram are forcing under-16s to live under an “electric adjudicator far more cruel and censorious” than teachers, and parents. During the speech he suggested that the growing influence of social media is fuelling a surge in mental health problems amongst children in all social classes.
These are very strong words from someone who is meant to be tutoring new technologies that come into play and not slamming them down. Like everything there is a plus and negative side to all inventions, and it is surely the education system’s role to nurture children through the positive steps whilst explaining the negatives and the impact they can have on others.
Andrew Halls is in a position of high authority, and many will no doubt take on board his words, and this is why it is so surprising that his choice of argument is baffling. If a child was to read what he has said then the natural reaction would be to challenge that authority, because he is clearly against social media. This is what happens in schools without the appropriate tutoring. There is a growing issue to do with bullying online but the wrong way to go about challenging it is to just identify it in the public eye. Mr Halls should have said what he plans to do to keep this at bay, because that is what is needed due to social media not going away.

Technology and social media
Source: zowchow.com

There are educational benefits to be seen out of sites such as Facebook, and maybe what the educational institutions should be doing is encouraging their students to use the site as a form of collective discussion after school. Despite the children being sat in front of a screen after school is not ideal, it is now the reality so at least this would help them pursue knowledge instead of harming others.

In today’s world, it is appropriate that not only should children be learning the core subjects at school, but also be taught in social media management. By this I mean personal management, and this would include how to act online, and what types of things to avoid, but also how to gain intellectually out of using social media. This may not appeal to everyone, but at present there is no one else suggesting alternatives. This is possibly the route Mr Halls should have pursued before launching an attack on social media as a whole, because one day his students may be using the platform as a way to start a successful business.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Has social media created the 'dual individual'?

Social media is a place for the self-obsessed at times.  You can scroll down an Instagram feed and see many selfies taken at different angles and topped off with an array of filters.  Some people upload a different picture every time their mood changes in one day, but why?
Source: businesscomputingworld.com


In a consumer driven culture, you just have to take a trip to your local shopping centre and you will see multiple pictures of barely dressed models with seemingly flawless body figures.  This is having an impact on how the masses see themselves, and it has a detrimental effect on how society is being educated about how to act in both the public and personal spheres of communication and self-building.  Marketing has been massive in the influence of the beauty image, and displaying a massive image of a model with a protruding six-pack and sculpture like jawbone with zero body hair is actually making the majority of society strive for something that is not attainable without the help of surgery.
Dramaturgical theory is now reality and most people are taking on the roles of people they see on TV, making life essentially a theatrical performance.  There is also an emphasis in society to stay young, and therefore the natural symptoms of growing older, or hitting another stage of life are being looked at as negative. This is especially the case for women who have a tough time when it comes to cosmetic judgement.  The whole language around a female who is growing older is significantly more negative than a male.  For example Women are subjected to negative comments if they are displaying wrinkles on the face, with terms such as ‘weathered’ and ‘hag’ being used.  This is different for men as there as society now views them as ‘matured’.  There is essentially an argument that society suggests women grow old, and men grow up.
Social media came along and the spotlight is as blinding as ever, especially for young people.  People are conditioned now to project an unrealistic version of themselves online, and in the end it just wears down a persons psyche.  Everyone is putting so much time into creating a digital identity, and the fine details of a digital persona all depends on how others are portraying themselves online.  With all this going on behind the scenes, what happens to the ‘real life’ person in front of the computer?  Is there now a duel personality?  Are two versions of one entity too difficult to maintain?
This is maybe where the condition ‘Smiling depression’ comes from.  Someone who is suffering will be very good at hiding the psychological difficulties that they experience, and often adopt a happy disposition, along with a great sense of humour among social gatherings, but ultimately struggle in isolation.
Social media then is a tool for people who wish to project this platonic ideal of the self.  This in turn constructs a mentality other than the physical one that is present, leaving the individual literally in two minds as to who they are.  This is where the person finds it impossible to lead two lives, as they are chasing their aspirations in the real world, whilst striving to portray a perpetually happy persona on the Internet.
Source: digitalfire.co.za

If a person then chooses to ditch one of the personalities then problems can occur.  In the case that the individual chooses to pursue the goal of polishing their online persona then they become detached from the so called ‘real world’, leaving them alienated from society, therefore their inter-personal skills would suffer as a result of lesser human interaction.  If the individual was to abandon the online self, then again this may lead to alienation as now it is an expectation by the majority that an individual takes part in social networking, and if you’re not, then why?
Both of these options could then lead to a psychological illness such as depression and then the spiral continues.  This sort of discussion brings up the fact that our society are still children in the world of social media, and young people in particular are facing growing pressure to lead dual lives.  Networks such as Instagram are a place to spawn these new personalities, as an individual is not pressurised to display their negative traits, and by looking at someone’s profile, you could easily think that you are inferior due to the perfection quest of some.
It is an issue that will no doubt continue due to the growing influence of not only social media, but also marketing across the world.  This is not only in shopping centres that display the beauty image, but also TV shows, films, and magazines that tell you that you should also look like a model, or else success will not come your way.  It is a difficult environment to stably live in for some people who are of a sensitive nature, but one hopes that the positives of social media will outweigh a problem such as this.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Would You Rather be Social or Interesting?

 Would you rather be social or interesting
The “Interest Graph” is not the “Social Graph”. But what does that mean and why should you care?
Despite the rapid ascent of Interest-based platforms, such as Pinterest, Sulia, WeHeartIt and Wanelo, we rarely see dialogue about the Interest Graph except in a Social context. However, The Interest Graph and Social Graph are two fundamentally different infrastructures with different underlying assumptions for marketers.

Sure, they often overlap, but it’s time we come to appreciate their differences, so that we can be more effective marketers on a social web driven by people’s passions and interests.
So should you be social or interesting?

The social graph is about who you “know”

Friends, followers and connections represent some degree of familiarity, ranging from a spouse to someone you met once at that thing you went to. If you think in High School terms, the Social Graph is all about getting in with the cool kids, so you can multiply your reach and borrow from their swagger.
The basic assumption of “Social Marketing” is:
“If someone knows someone else, they will be interested in similar things”

The interest graph is about “passions”

In high school, the “Interest Graph” is like clubs or sports teams- a group of people coming together because they love to do the same thing. They may or may not be friends, may or may not know each other, but they share a common passion that brings them together. The more passionate they are the more likely they are to create, share and comment.
The basic assumption of Interest Marketing is thus:
“If someone is interested in something, people who are interested in similar things will be interested in that thing”

Social marketing is about reach

The more people who see your message, the further it will spread. This means you will need to continue to grow your social networks on Twitter to remain ahead of the competition. It’s about building an online distribution network.

Interest marketing is about relevance

If you hit the right audience with the right message, you can connect with valuable customers through a trusted authority.

Studies show that traffic from Pinterest is more valuable than traffic from Facebook and Twitter, likely because the audience is better qualified to begin with. That said, Facebook and Twitter still have substantially larger user bases, so if your strategy requires very broad reach, it may be easier to find it through the social web.

By digging deeper, other critical differences between Social and Interest-based marketing emerge. Let’s compare Facebook and Twitter, the preeminent Social networks with Pinterest, the preeminent Interest-based network to illustrate a few distinctions:

1. Content: Real-Time vs evergreen

Information about Interests becomes dated less rapidly than what’s trendy on the Social scene. If you’re interested in gardening, chances are an article about how to optimally plant daffodil seeds will be as relevant five years from now as it is today. Conversely, most news articles, events and other timely posts about the new blockbuster movie we’ll all forget in six months isn’t.

Cool comes from knowing what’s hot now; Interesting comes from knowing quality information.  That’s why content on Pinterest lives longer than content on facebook.

As marketers, we need to differentiate our content strategy. All too often at Tailwind we hear “Pinterest doesn’t work for us. We’re sharing the same thing there as on facebook but not getting results.” It’s not that Pinterest “doesn’t work for you;” you’re just doing it wrong. Start with the audience on Pinterest and ask yourself- what content does this audience need? Chances are, it’s different from what your facebook audience needs. And if done properly, it can pay dividends over a much longer period of time- more similar to your SEO content strategy.

2. Discovery: Search vs stream

When Pinterest first gained notoriety, publications focused on their unique, scannable visual feed. While that feature has been very important in establishing Pinterest’s identity, interestingly Pinterest has recently focused on raising the profile of other methods of discovery – namely, Interests and Pinterest search. And this makes perfect sense: In Interest-based discovery, depth of content matters.

You may passingly decide to check out Breaking Bad, but once you get hooked, you may find yourself researching everything from the actors’ backgrounds to blue crystalline cake toppings for your next house party. With topical content, it’s rare that users go beyond the first article, and even more rare that enough information will be organized and accessible to dig deeper if you wanted to.
As a result, the stream is the thing- you want a wide variety of new content, but don’t need or expect to dig deeper on most social platforms. 

3. Tools: Don’t ask your butcher to remove your appendix

Sure, surgeons and butchers both cut flesh daily, but when precision is necessary, call a surgeon.  In the same vein, you shouldn’t look to tools built for Twitter or Facebook to develop your Pinterest strategy. As CEO of the leading Pinterest Analytics and Marketing tool, this suggestion probably seems self-serving. But if we didn’t see that the Interest Graph requires unique tools, we wouldn’t be building Tailwind in the first place. Let’s examine a few cases in point:

Analytics

Tailwind initially took off as the go-to analytics tool for marketers on Pinterest. Today, over 12,000 brands rely on us for insights that inform their campaign strategies. At first our approach was similar to advanced Social analytics tools, but over time we realized that metrics need to be thought of differently for Pinterest. For example, Facebook and Twitter tools tend to focus on recent content, in a real-time feed, to help you understand which posts were more or less successful. For Pinterest, though, immediate analysis of content can lead to incorrect conclusions. Consider this case study of a pin that went viral six months after being posted.

Due to the evergreen nature of content, one must constantly refresh engagement data on past posts, as an individual pin may look like a dud after an hour or a day, but after connecting with the right interest group can become a star 14, 30 or even 180 days later. For this reason, we’ve built capabilities to be able to track the life of a pin over time, so when your late blooming content comes to life, you’ll (a) notice it and (b) be able to understand how and why it went viral.

Community management

Social CRM tools frequently emphasize who has the most followers, so you can amplify your message as quickly as possible. In a real-time, reach-based environment, this makes sense. Conversely, when you’re trying to amplify a message on Pinterest, what topics a user is influential about matters far more. Someone may have 2 million followers, but if their authority is in Men’s Clothing and Home Décor, paying them to pin your wedding pins isn’t likely a good use of marketing budget. At Tailwind, we solve for this, by showing our users what topics influencers are trusted about and helping identify impactful pinners for a topic, not just ones with high follower counts.

Discovering content to pin

Given the longevity of a pin, emphasis on visual content and focus on curation over creation, it might not surprise you that the top sources of content on Pinterest are quite different from the top sources on Twitter or Facebook. Topical, news-oriented content performs very well on platforms powered by the social graph, as timely content can spread rapidly through social circles.

On Pinterest the question is often- what are the best sources of content for a given topic. Thus, in order to help Pinners discover better content to pin, we had to dig deep into understanding the best sources of content on a given topic- often this means content is a bit less newsy in nature, as the news cycle doesn’t allow for deep coverage of many topics.

Which should I choose?

So, should you focus on the Interest Graph or Social graph?

Most likely, the answer is both. Most businesses need both broad reach and targeted marketing to fill their funnel. However, you may lean more heavily into…

Social if your business involves short blasts of intense promotion of unique products or content (e.g. concert promoters, news media), your audience knows each other well in real life (e.g. University Student Affairs Office) or the economics are driven more by volume alone (e.g. CPM-based publisher in non-niche category).

Interest-based Marketing if your business rotates products frequently but sells into the same audience (e.g. most retailers), serves customers with a specific hobby/passion (e.g. category-driven media publication), needs to be recognized as a subject matter expert (e.g. most service businesses) or targets an audience with common interests that’s geographically fragmented (e.g. camera manufacturers targeting photographers and wedding photography targeting brides).

Monday, 10 March 2014

The New Facebook Ad Campaign Structure: Here is What You Need to Know

The New Facebook Ad Campaign Structure: Here is What You Need to Know

Last week, Facebook announced the redesign and launch of a new structure for its advertising campaigns. This new structure is scheduled to start rolling out tomorrow (March 4) to all ad platforms, including Power Editor.

In this short but sweet post, we’ll take a look at what those changes are, so you can be prepared.

Lately, Facebook has been making several changes to its advertising products, mostly to simplify things, in other words, to eliminate things. But in this case, it looks like we are adding something new to the mix.

Here is the diagram published by Facebook itself last week and, as you can see, there is a new element called Ad Set, and this changes how campaigns are structured.

Facebook new campaign structure
So here is how the new campaign structure works:


Campaign

You start by setting up a campaign based on one specific Objective. You probably remember that, not too long ago, Facebook changed “Ad Types” for “Objectives” with the purpose of letting marketers focus on the goal of the campaign instead of the type of ad.

This means that the campaign will now be determined by that goal. To give you an example, a campaign can be designed specifically to drive traffic to your site. Everything inside this campaign will be focused on that goal.

If you have been running Facebook ads for a while, you know Objectives were part of the Ad settings.

Facebook Ad Objectives

Also, Facebook didn’t mention any changes to the actual set of Objectives, which at the moment are: Page Post Engagement, Pages Likes, Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, App Installs, App Engagement, Event Responses, and Offer Claims.


Ad Set

This is the layer that has been added to the structure. You can set up multiple ad sets within a campaign.

Ad sets will help you assign different budgets and schedules, but most importantly, you will be able to segment your campaign into different target audiences and measure the results independently.


Ads

Just like Ad Sets, you can create multiple ads inside them. At this level, you will control the actual content of the unit, in other words, you can create ads with different images, links and copy.
You will still be able to customize the bidding for each ad unit.


Existing Campaigns

One more thing to consider is that, existing campaigns will be automatically migrated to the new structure, but their delivery and spending will not be affected.


Quick Recap

In short…
  • The Campaign controls the Objective
  • Ad Sets will control the budgets, schedule and target audiences
  • Ads will carry the content (Images, copy, links)
I personally think that, while it feels like a bit more work, it is a better organization that will also be translated into better reporting.

What do you think?