Safer Social Media

Cyber bullying has become a common occurrence online these days. Social media makes online communication easy and fast. Although these are positive attributes and reasons as to why social media is so popular to begin with, just as easy as it is to communicate with people about your day-to-day life, it is just as easy to bully and attack someone online. In recent years as the popularity of social media has increased and more teenagers join social networks, the amount of cyber bullying has risen along also. Last year, in a study conducted in the U.S., one million children admitted to being harassed, threatened or exposed to some form of cyber bullying on Facebook. To some it may not seem like a big deal because as reflected in the study 90% of these social media users ignored this behavior. However, more than ever this negative behavior is leading to an increase in fatal consequences. Until recently, there has been no full-proof way to manage online bullying.

In 2015 the app My Social Sitter was develop. The purpose of the app is to stop cyber bullying and ensure a safer and negative free social media environment. Using a four step process the app, which is connected to the social media platform of the user: detects, shields, informs, educates and rewards. The initial detection step has the ability uncover any harmful communication being received, and even harmful communication being sent out by the user. This is followed by the shield of protection, which prevents the negative message from advancing to the intended recipient. From there the user is informed whether a message has been posted or rejected within seconds and if they themselves are sending out a negative message they have the opportunity to edit their post. Along with the informing process is the apps ability to detect very serious messages surrounding depression or suicide. In this case the users parents are automatically informed. The final step is education and rewards. From the shielding step users are taught what is appropriate and what isn’t and the end they receive rewards for every positive post, such as tokens or gift cards.

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The newly developed app has many positive attributes with the first being its quick response rate whenever a message has been sent or rejected makes it easy to keep track with what is taking place on your social media. Another point is that the app is able to detect slang and sentiment in six languages, which increases chances of preventing cyber bullying because youngsters don’t usually write in formal English when they’re on social media. Another is the reward, which is a great motivation for kids and teenagers as they’re usually would not pay attention to ideas like this, but in this case they get something out of it. Finally, it keeps users’ social media profiles private from their parents with the exception of the notifications regarding harmful messages.

Personally I think it is about time an app like this was developed. Some social media sites have put regulations in place to try and hinder cyber bullying as much as possible, but it has not been the most effective. For that reason, I think social media sites like Facebook need to begin advertising the product in order to inform more people. Social media use is continuously rising and it is necessary to make it a safe environment because there is no reason bullying should take place. The app gives individual control to users, its fast and creates a more enjoyable online environment.

Resources

Facebook vs. Amazon

As of recently Facebook has introduced a new e-commerce feature to their social media platform. Their strategy involves turning your News Feed into an online store by creating a Shopping tab that can be found alongside the Messages and Events tabs. This new feature is Facebook’s attempt at entering new markets and competing with e-commerce giant Amazon. The project is mainly aimed at big brands and gives them the ability to catalogue their merchandise on the social media platform and have customers buy their products directly from the site rather than clicking on an advertisement and being redirected to their own company website. It also provides the opportunity for customers to contact brands and track their packages through messenger, in a similar way that can be done on brand websites.
Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 2.42.18 PMThere are a number of strengths and weaknesses to this new feature with the first strength being that it allows brands to extend their number of selling platforms, and since Facebook has already established themselves as an effective platform for online communicating and advertising, it makes it very appealing for businesses. Secondly, the feature is free for companies; therefore they are paying nothing for something that will most likely increase their profits. User experience on the mobile application will also improve because unlike traditional advertisements the Shopping feature will have products managed in the same way as photos, which will make them easily accessible and more user friendly. As for Facebook, it means that people will be spending more time on their site rather than users transferring to other websites and; in a positive for Facebook, it will mean that they have greater data collection on their users than anyone else.

However, there are also a number of weaknesses to the feature with the first continuing on from the last point made in the previous paragraph. Facebook will have a significant sized data storage of millions of users, which to everyone else is seen as a major privacy concern. As the feature continues to grow Facebook could also begin to start charging brands for the service and subjecting them to all kinds of rules that could prove to be less beneficial for the companies.

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An interesting question though is what does this mean for amazon? At the moment the feature seems promising and Facebook is clearly a well-established business with a large community, giving it a good starting advantage. However, there are also several other competitors that have moderately successful similar features, but have not come close to taking over amazon, including Google, Twitter and Pinterest. As well as that Facebook has had several failed attempts at entering foreign markets for instance, when they tried to compete with LinkedIn as a professional networking service.

Personally, I do not like the idea, not because it is not a good one, but if Facebook becomes a leader in eCommerce, what’s to stop it from entering other markets. Although there was a failed attempt at competing with LinkedIn as a professional networking site it does not mean it will hinder any plans of Facebook to correct issues and try again. Even then there are many ways Facebook are trying to keep people on their sites for longer, even by introducing hot topic articles. Who is to say that Facebook won’t be the place where you can connect with friends and connect with work or potential employers, shop for clothes, groceries, appliances, catch up on news, internet banking, eventually start doing everything in one place. Where are the boundaries?

Facebook is a business and although I am only one user out of a billion. The idea that everything I need will be in one location; which in theory is convenient. The fact that there is no longer a separation between these different parts of my life is unsettling.

References

  • Facebook introduces new shopping features. (2015, October 12). http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/12/technology/facebook-shopping-feed/index.html
  • Facebook is taking on Amazon with shopping pages. (2015, July 16). http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/16/technology/facebook-buy/index.html?iid=EL
  • Parker, R. (2015, September 22). Facebook’s New Shopping Features, and What They Mean For Your Brand | Return On Digital.

    http://www.returnondigital.com/blog/facebooks-new-shopping-features-and-what-they-mean-for-your-brand

  • Yoffie, D., Slind, M., & Achsaf, N. (2009). LinkedIn Corp., 2008. Harvard Business Review, 1-19.

Click Here and Earn $1,000!!!


“Congratulations! You are the millionth visitor! Fill in your data below and get $1,000 for free!”
I guess you’ve all come across these ads on the internet. Some of you may have clicked on them. Lately, these kind of ‘ads’ are disappearing. Those were/are all scams to get your personal and financial data or infiltrate your computer with viruses. Other (real) advertising banners have also become less and less effective, amongst other things thanks to these scams. What can we do to make online advertising effective again?

From a jaw-dropping 50-90% Click Through Rate to a poor 0.1% CTR (MacDonald 2015). You could say banner ads are not an effective way to promote your product, service or company. There’s also a term describing the phenomenon where website visitors consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information. This is called banner blindness (Nielsen 2007). Yet, there are some ways to improve your (banner) advertising.

Media rich engagement ads are ‘voluntary’ ads. In other words, they expand and play, once you hover above these interactive ads more than two seconds. Beware, consumers may also develop banner blindness to these engagement ads.
Banner blindness does not extend to audio, thus Podcasts are another effective alternative to traditional banners. For example, Spotify uses audio advertising like this. However, hearing the same voice and text over and over again, can be very annoying for consumers.

The opposite of Sponsored Posts and a very effective kind of advertising posts is User Generated Content. In short, consumers themselves post about you on their social networks creating a ‘buzz’. Be careful though: this ‘buzz’ can also be a negative one.
The idea behind Content Marketing is not creating ads that look like content, but actually creating content. “Don’t sell anything, just be useful.” Take a look at CMO.com, Adobe’s initiative (MacDonald 2015).

Another great way to increase advertising effectiveness is not to improve these banners, but rather on how to replace these ineffective (banner) ads. The answer to this problem is: using apps.
Starbucks does a tremendous job by using their app to involve consumers. ‘For Mobile Devices, Think Apps, Not Ads’ (Gupta 2013) discusses some tips to increase this consumer involvement:
– Add convenience
– Offer unique value
– Provide social value
– Offer incentives
– Entertain

The Starbucks app does more than just advertise its products. If you’re interested, you can read more about it in the article.

Do you know other new, creative ways to advertise? Let me know in the comment section below!

References:
– Gupta, S. (2013) ‘For mobile devices, think apps, not ads’, Harvard Business Review 91(3) 71-75.
– MacDonald, M. (2015) ‘Better than Banner Ads: Smart ways to spend your ad dollars in 2015’ via http://www.tintup.com/blog/better-than-banner-ads-smart-ways-spend-ad-dollars-2015-muriel-macdonald/ on September 23, 2015.
– Nielsen, J. (2007) ‘Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings’ via http://www.nngroup.com/articles/banner-blindness-old-and-new-findings/ on September 23, 2015.

Pewdiepie

I guess you’ve all heard of the YouTube celebrity Felix Kjellberg A.K.A. Pewdiepie. If not, he is the most subscribed YouTuber with an astounding 40 million subscribers, mostly playing ‘indie’ or unpopular videogames while live commentating the event. In 2015, his annual income is estimated to be 4 million dollars a year and his net worth is estimated around 16 million dollars. And he’s only 25 years old! (Net Worth 2015)
Where does all this money come from?

First, let me freshen up your memory by explaining the phenomenon called ‘Social Commerce’. “Simply defined, social commerce is the fusion of social media with e-commerce or basically the concept of word-of-mouth applied to e-commerce.” (Marsden 2010)
So, in the case of Pewdiepie’s channel there are some signs of social commerce. For example, every month Pewds gets a package containing several collector items which are all related by theme, like ‘Villains’. He unboxes the items on screen and comments on them. At the end of the video he advises people to also buy these ‘Loot Crates’. The video below is one of the examples of this word-of-mouth on his channel.

Another important way companies gain a lot of awareness is when Pewdiepie plays their game. Then, the so-called Oprah effect comes into force. The Oprah effect is the effect that an appearance on a famous show can have on a small business. (Investopedia 2015) Because Pewdiepie nearly has 10 billion views, a recommendation can have a significant influence on the game developers.

Not a lot of people know that Pewdiepie actually is signed under Maker Studios, a company owned by Walt Disney, which produces videos for channels on YouTube. (Maker Studios 2015) The funny thing is, Pewdiepie says in his videos that he never gets paid to promote the videogames he plays. (YouTube 2015)

Is he telling the truth? Or is he lying and exploiting all of his subscribers? That making money is his main motive?
What do you guys think?

References:
– Investopedia (2015) Oprah Effect http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/oprah-effect.asp
– Maker Studios (2015) Makers http://www.makerstudios.com/makers
– Marsden, P. (2010) Social Commerce: Monetizing Social Media, Hamburg: Syzygy.
– Net Worth (2015) Pewdiepie http://www.the-net-worth.com/2015/05/pewdiepie/
– YouTube (2015) Pewdiepie https://www.youtube.com/user/PewDiePie/

The Social Media Era of Advertising

Social media is the latest platform for advertising, but it does not provide clear data regarding return on investments (ROI), a matter that marketers appear to be fixated on. However, is ROI really worth worrying about when using social media for marketing?

Until recently, the main forms of marketing were television, print, and radio. These are the traditional approaches. Up until now they have been the preferred marketing mediums because firms can predict the outcome using these methods and are able to rely on it more heavily because of its consistent past, but most importantly because firms are able to determine their ROI (Weinberg, 2011). However, social media is not able to generate ROI in dollar form, making way for uncertainty and generally leaving marketers uneasy because they do not know how well their campaign strategy is working; in comparison to what they are familiar with and what marketing budget to set for the future.

What Weinberg chooses to point out is that although the ROI for social media does not come in the form of dollars, it can be generated by social currency, which occurs from the relationship investment made by the company with its consumer. Unlike traditional methods, this can create long-term benefits rather than short, drastically saving costs since consumers on their platform comment, share, like brands’ social media posts, which all their friends will be able to see, giving the company exposure without them having to really work for it.

At the end of the day though, it falls down to how well the company markets itself (social mix), as different social media platforms are needed depending on the purpose and objective of the company (Weinberg, 2011). Not only, but in order to maintain this effective standard, mission control centers need to be set up to allow marketers to monitor activity on their social platforms, engage with customers, collect and analyze data received from these interactions and apply them to their business and improve. Therefore, if they wish to continue to grow, their customer activity must be noted and applied.

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(Social Media Mix)

Hoffman shared very similar ideas in regards to firms needing to stop fixating on the traditional ROI, and instead measures customer’s social media investments because that is where the long-term benefits will come from (Hoffman, 2013). Hoffman focused on the 4 c’s: connections, creation, control and consumption, which are all coordinated by the consumer. It is up to the firm to ensure they stay up to date based on these four principles because it is the consumer that is exposing the brand to new audiences and most of all, the value of posting one simple tweet could prove to be of great worth to the company (Hoffman, 2010).

In 2008, technology company Cisco proved just how useful social media marketing has become. Instead of advertising their upcoming product launch on traditional platforms, they chose to solely focus on using social media. As a result, Cisco saved over $100,000, ninety times more people show up to the event than ever before, one thousand blog posts were published along with forty million other online comments and the event resulted in an award for Best Marketing (Hibbard, 2010).

References

  • Hibbard, C. 2010. Social Media Launch Saves Cisco $100,000.
  • Hoffman, D. L., and Fodor, M. 2010. Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review 52(1) 41-49.
  • Weinberg, B. D., and Pehlivan, E. 2011. Social spending: Managing the social media mix. Business Horizons 54(3) 275–282.

Road to Brand Evangelism

Since the beginning of social media brands gradually found their way to their customers. This can be done through advertisements and/or creating their own channels and pages on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media application. We all realize that the traditional marketing approach differs from the social media approach and we probably all know a couple of examples from our Facebook News Feed proving that point. We can’t imagine a social media world without digital marketing or advertising. Or can you?

Nowadays more and more people find advertisements annoying and therefore are finding alternatives for the services they normally make use of. Two great examples of this are Spotify and Netflix. People that normally would listen to the radio now prefer Spotify, which is ad free if you buy Spotify Premium. People that always watched their favourite series on TV nowadays use Netflix. And how do people get rid of most of the advertisements on the computer? They have an ad blocker installed.

So how does this ad blocker affect advertisements? I assumed it would have a negative impact for the marketer as those people won’t be aware of the brand and therefore can’t get engaged with the brand. Instead, according to Ben Kunz it possibly is the best thing that ever happened to the ad industry. Now people have ad blockers installed, the marketer knows this person is not interested in advertisements. Therefore the marketer does not need to pay for those that block advertisements on their computer. This will result in higher returns on investments.

Brands have three main social media objectives: brand awareness, brand engagement and word of mouth marketing. In the first stage awareness is created before you are able to get engaged with a brand. And normally you are engaged with a brand before you will start talking about it with friends, assuming it is in a positive way. In case a brand succeeds in reaching these objectives there will be brand evangelism. This means that you are trying to convince your friends and family to buy products from that specific brand.

A great example of this is KLM Surprise. When you tweeted on the airport you were going to take a KLM flight, KLM Surprise would contact you and get you a personal gift. Therefore they were going through all your information on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or anything else they could find to surprise you. And because people were on the airport and had to wait for a long time, they could use this time to share their surprise with all their friends. This helped KLM succeeding with these earlier named three objectives.

On their road to brand evangelism KLM made some huge steps with KLM Surprise as this campaign became very well known. Now you are thinking of brand evangelism, do you reckon you are guilty of it? Are there certain brands that absolutely stand out for you? And did you advice people you know to buy their products?

Sources

Hoffman, D. L., and Fodor, M. 2010. Can you measure the ROI of your social media marketing? MIT Sloan Management Review 52(1) 41-49.
Weinberg, B. D., and Pehlivan, E. 2011. Social spending: Managing the social media mix. Business Horizons 54(3) 275–282.
Gupta, S. 2013. For mobile devices, think apps, not ads. Harvard Business Review 91(3) 71-75.
Kunz, B. (2015) Ad blocking may save digital marketing from itself’, http://digiday.com/agencies/ad-blocking-may-save-digital-marketing/, 16 September 2015.
Low, K. (2014) ‘The Importance of User Experience for Digital Marketing: 5 Key Tips’, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2380064/the-importance-of-user-experience-for-digital-marketing-5-key-tips, 16 September 2015.

Digital Marketing and Advertising in the Social Media era

Checking your Facebook after searching for new shoes on Google, and within seconds your search results will pop-up on your screen. Digital advertising is everywhere and every minute, if you like it or not… On your Facebook timeline, Instagram hashtags or you twitter account, you can not ignore the newest trend in advertising.

The past decade advertising switched from traditional advertising to digital advertising. Posters, newspapers, magazines and billboards are replaced with banned adds, pay-per-sale ads and sponsored search ads. In digital advertising, pay per click, pay per action and pay per impression are being sold and the ads are shown to a particular set of viewers.

The leading question in the article “Can you measure the ROI of your social media Marketing” is how can you tell whether social media are working? An important point in this article is the fact that marketers need to focus on the reasons behind the use of the social media. In that way, they will have a clear image, for long-term returns. Another article is “Social spending: managing the social media mix”. This article describes a lens for strategically thinking about social media, and by identifying important dimensions of social media with respect to execution. The conclusion in de article states that social media is a good substitute for traditional advertising. “For mobile devices, think apps, not ads” is focussed on the mobile devices and their relationship with digital advertising and marketing. The article reveals five strategies that can help them succeed. First, add convenience, in this way marketers will have a great return on investment. Second, offer unique value. Third, provide social value. Fourth, offer incentives and last but not least, entertain.

There are a lot of examples of social media and digital branding. The first example is Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign during the summer of 2014. Coca-Cola removed the famous and very well known “Coco-cola” logo and replaced it with the 250 most popular first names for American teens. Coca-Cola personalized the campaign, by giving customers the opportunity to send “virtual bottles” and share them via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Another example of successful social media campaigns is the “Ice Bucket Challenge”. In this campaign people asked for awareness for ALS victims. People shared videos, giving friends and family the challenge to throw a bucket off ice over their heads.

A big similarity between the two campaign is the use of videos and personalization. Where Coco-cola used names and the Ice Bucket Challenge used real faces, the campaign reach out to the customers personally, where the loyalty of the campaign grew. Another comparison is the use of a hashtags, which made the marketing go viral very fast and let customers drive the campaign to a success.

Coco-cola and the Ice Bucket Challenge are great examples of successful digital advertising and marketing. The companies managed to reach a worldwide audience, using a simple hashtags, and creating extra revenues for their firms. While doing so, they entertained people and made hundreds of lives better everyday.