The Global Source for Social Media Researchers

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  • 15 Jan 2020 8:45 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    It is a privilege to share this report with you. I find this report refreshing because it is opening up some much needed dialog on all types of research with an emphasis on digital intelligence and where that fits. A friend and colleague of ours, Mark Michelson once told me that he strongly believes in conducting at least 2 methods of research in any research study. I have always hung on to that because I believe many researchers have a misconception of digital intelligence. It is not meant to replace, but to add value.

    Read Jillian Ney's blog post below, detailing the publication of a new report from The Social Intelligence Lab.

    Looking for Better, Faster, Cheaper Consumer Insight

    In the insights world, there’s been a surge in new technologies and solutions to research and understand people.

    We’re in the age of tech-enabled consumer intelligence.

    Text analytics, passive data collection methods, predictive analytics, and niche research data applications are allowing researchers to evolve and go beyond their traditional scope. These new technologies and solutions are also opening ‘research’ to new breeds of niche insights professionals, like CX researchers and social media intelligence researchers.

    There’s a demand for a sophisticated interpretation of data to help in obtaining faster and cheaper insights that can be used in business decision-making. There’s also a growing acceptance from insights professionals that a blend of ‘old’ and ‘new’ research is needed for rigor and speed of insights. 

    Data is becoming a fundamental requirement for successful business strategies, and we are moving towards data insights becoming a core business intelligence function. But this process is not without its challenges. 

     

    The Challenges

    Where Do New Approaches Fit: Part of the challenge for many insights teams is that they need a deep understanding of how these new technologies and methods fit into their broader set of tools and methodologies that they can use to answer a business question. Weakness in understanding a method can mean it is not taken into account when building the objectives, and it’s also less likely to be chosen as a methodology by the executing teams.

    Accuracy: There is a perception that new technologies and approaches have a lower standard of data quality. They are chosen for speed over accuracy, and used for less complex questions.

    Lack of Expertise: New methods and data require new ways of working and new skill sets, but there’s a shortage of experience. Even full-service agencies or consultants have much expertise in areas like social media intelligence. Clients don’t often see many research agencies offering social intelligence so it never gets tied or tested in small low-risk ways, meaning it never gets fully integrated into the insights function. There’s also too few people who can evaluate new methods and technologies to determine their worth, far too many new methods paint a different picture of the same data. 

    Lack of Platform Knowledge: There’s also a lack of platform knowledge when it comes to using these new technologies. ‘Dashboard drain’ is on the rise from having to learn the functionality and user journeys of many new technologies. There’s a lack of skilled people to properly use the new technologies to reach their full potential.

    Previous Experiences Under Delivered: New methods, like social media intelligence, has previously provided sparse insights that are difficult to interpret. There has been a trend of ‘obvious insight’ with a lack of time dedicated to critical thinking about the findings. 

     

    Getting You The Insight You Need 

    On one hand, we’re faced with reduced budgets and timescales, and on the other, we have all these new technologies and methods that feel untested and risky. We need a new focus on education and training to help address these challenges, and meet the need for innovation in customer insights.

    So, we’ve put together a collection of discussions, trends, and predictions from some of our leading experts, forward-thinking clients and trusted vendors across our ecosystem. Together they explore the dynamics and challenges of social and digital consumer intelligence across consumer insights. 


  • 18 Dec 2019 8:18 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Influence marketing certainly grew this year and is one of the main reasons brands use social media listening tools. Many marketers are using influencers as one more way to gain creditability and reach consumers. Jim Matorin, founder of SMARTKETING, an innovative marketing company , works with a multitude of product categories- convenience foods, desserts, ethnic foods, plant-based/sustainable foods, etc.. Jim also serves on the SMRA advisory board. 

    He shares with us his views of Influence Marketing in the article below. 

    Influence Marketing – 2019 Awards

    By: Jim Matorin 

    As 2019 comes to a close, I have been culling through all the online content detailing the best of 2019 and forecasting what is coming in 2020. Consequently, I decided to have some fun and draft my own list and award the best influencing marketing movements of 2019, plus disclose my one prediction for 2020.

    Influence Marketer of the Year: Sephora – I have asserted in numerous guest posts, the strategic utilization of macro (greater than 100,000 followers) or micro (10,000 to 100,000 followers) influencers ought to vary by industry. When it comes to fashion, I strongly recommend a macro influencer, the spine of my Global Fashion Influencer https://smra-global.org/news/6145649 post. Global beauty leader Sephora has been a digital/influence marketing pioneer for years. In 2019, to break through the their industry’s clutter of influencers who post beauty tips, it created the #SephoraSquad influence marketing movement. They held a contest to find 24 influencers to work with, both macro and micro (a.k.a. broad and niche influence marketing). In addition, they asked their loyal followers for testimonials and received 250,000. Consequently, their user generated content including video, enabled Sephora to personalize the brand experience for their influencers. Their program validated the marketing axiom “one size does not fit all” and addressed the needs of their diverse customer base. Sephora experienced an increase in engagement, web traffic, leads and sales, plus a gold mine of loyal consumer data.

    Silent Influencers: U.S. Moms – There are approximately 4.5 million mom influencers in the United States (source: Mom 2.0). Originally via blogging and social media, numerous moms recorded all aspects of their daily lives to engage and build community. However, over the years their content evolved into an association with brands and companies. In a viral flash, with one post, popular mom influencers with large followings can either endorse (note: sometimes for free product or sponsorship money) or deflate a brand. The silent influencers have grown in numbers to the point they now have a conference (Mom 2.0 Summit) complete with workshops like “How to Connect and Work with Global Brands.”

    Social Media Platform of the Year: TikTok – Founded in Beijing, China, TikTok is a short video-sharing social networking service. The app (iOS and Android) was launched for markets outside of China in 2017       (over 150 markets in 75 languages). The app experienced a user download explosion, 1.1 billion by March of 2019. Given its popularity among Gen Z, brand marketers are leveraging its user generated video content to create influencer marketing movements.


    Joyeux Noël et Bonne Nouvelle!




  • 11 Dec 2019 1:38 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Digital Marketing may experience some roadblocks in the next few years. Here is an interesting post by Jeff Green on how the Internet pays for itself. A point of view he feels very few consider. 

    By: Jeff Green

    CEO, The Trade Desk

    Published in World Economic Forum 

    In January, California will implement its Consumer Privacy Act, aimed at enhancing privacy rights and controls for state citizens. This follows the broader GDPR regulations in Europe, as well as preemptive moves by companies such as Apple and Mozilla to restrict the power of internet cookies. Some within the advertising industry are even preparing for a so-called cookieless future.

    What’s often missing from the ongoing debate about such regulation and legislation is any consideration of how the internet pays for itself. As you read the news online or watch the latest binge-worthy series on your smart TV, you are likely paying for it by watching advertising. The more relevant that advertising is to you, the more valuable it is to the advertiser and publisher, and the more it can be used to fund great content.

    For the select few, such as Netflix and The Wall Street Journal, a subscription-based business model works, for now. But in the great scheme of the internet, these subscription success stories are outliers and they will become increasingly rare. The latest research from Deloitte suggests that almost half of US consumers are already starting to experience subscription fatigue.

    For all but the small minority of content providers who can currently sustain a subscription model, the internet is paid for with relevant advertising. This is no different from the way content has been monetized for decades. Whether it was soap companies marketing to 1950s housewives during hour-long daily television dramas or Pepsi sponsoring the Superbowl halftime show, almost all consumer content has had an advertising attachment.

    While the balance between advertising and premium content has always been the value exchange of premium content, it is being tested in a more robust way on the internet, where data can be applied to make the relevance of advertising more precise. Indeed, it is estimated that the internet is funded by advertising to the tune of more than $35 per US consumer, per month.

    But therein lies the emerging, thorny issue of consumer data control and privacy, now rumbling through the tech industry and consuming the time of regulators worldwide. When Facebook was marched to Capitol Hill to explain, in part, how data is used to understand consumer audiences in granular detail, politicians started to appreciate how digital marketing works and the wealth of consumer data that is being mined.

    These are valid concerns: consumers should have comfort that their data is not being misused. Every time you search for something on the web, research or make a purchase online or express your views on social media, data about you is being gathered and stored. As more of that data is aggregated by a few companies, the argument goes, not only is your privacy compromised, but tech giants can use that data to exert growing control over the ad process, driving revenue to and from specific publishers.

    That’s scary, but advertisers come at this from a different perspective and it’s important to consider how they approach funding great content while protecting the consumer. Many of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods and automotive companies, for example, have a decades-long relationship with their most loyal consumers. They know that this loyalty can be destroyed in an instant if the consumer worries that their privacy has been compromised. At the same time, those consumers who understand their side of the value exchange are willing to engage in loyalty programmes, sharing information about themselves, in return for targeted value.

    Advertisers understand this and have come to appreciate that privacy and relevance can co-exist in a digital world awash with data. That means using advances in technology to drive relevance and value in advertising without abusing consumer data. Some advertising pioneers are innovating with technology that will allow them to build anonymized patterns that represent their loyal customer base and understand where those patterns show up elsewhere in the market. In these emerging cases, relevance is all about anonymous patterns and associations rather than any specific form of identifiable personal information. These innovations have the potential to improve the consumer experience – perhaps we will finally get to a point where we don’t all have to sit through hundreds of new car ads when only 5 million people in the US are actively looking for a new car at any given time. Perhaps we’ll get to watch fewer, more relevant and more valuable ads.



    This value exchange is not lost on big tech either: as Google implements changes to its Chrome browser to improve consumer privacy controls, it is doing so in a way that protects the ability to drive advertising relevance. Google understands the crucial role that advertising plays in funding the internet as we know it today and it won’t do anything to destroy that value.

    While new regulations can be helpful to consumers and businesses alike, we have to be careful about the consequences for the vast majority of digital content that is ad-funded. Without valuable ad dollars much of today’s content, including great journalism, will not be sustainable. It is in the advertisers’ interests to make their products as relevant to you as possible and to make your web experience as pleasant as possible. At the same time, they have a similar interest, and the technological ability, to ensure the responsible management of consumer data.


  • 27 Nov 2019 10:42 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    Photo: TechCrunch

    By: Kathy Doering

    I have been waiting for some time to see which platform was going to take this plunge first in the social media world. Software companies have for years been able to tap into open sourced (publicly available) social media data used primarily as a metric on how well they were performing in social media marketing against their competitors. It is also very well known that these software platforms can handle reputation management for business and even for consumers. Controversy surrounded this and Facebook was squeezed hard over privacy concerns. This was instrumental in the creation of GDPR (*The General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.) *Wikipedia

    It was and is a game changer. Software platforms will not allow users to dig into the posts of individuals who "liked" a post or mentioned your brand within their platforms. Rather, they use the publicly available information to provide the same analytics at a sky high level. This is still excellent data for marketers.

    In a statement issued to the UK’s Independent newspaper Facebook said,“We believe in the right for people to have a private conversation online. End-to-end encryption helps protect that right and is fundamental to the value we provide to over a billion people every day. We oppose government attempts to build backdoors because they would undermine the privacy and security of our users everywhere.”

    So how can Facebook monetize all this data they hold and ensure the privacy of their users? Easy... create a market research app inside the platform. Introducing Facebook Viewpoints. Facebook Viewpoints will give people the opportunity to participate in surveys and receive points that convert to cash paid via PayPal, for taking a 15 minute survey. If marketed correctly, I think they have a shot at this. There is no better place in the social media atmosphere where you have a more captive audience. As of the end of 2018, it boasted over 2.32 billion monthly active users.

    This isn't their first attempt at market research. The previous app Facebook launched was called Facebook Research. The Facebook Research app, which offers volunteers between the ages of 13 and 35 monthly $20 gift cards in exchange for near-total access to the data on their phones, would no longer be available on iOS. This is because the app violated Apple's developer guidelines. Android users will still be able to use it.

    Social Media Post by TechCrunch

    TechCrunch initially published the following about the Facebook Market Research App:

    "TechCrunch’s investigation discovered that Facebook has been quietly operated the Research program on iOS and Android since 2016, recently under the name Project Atlas. It recruited 13 to 35 year olds, 5 percent of which were teenagers, with ads on Instagram and Snapchat and paid them a monthly fee plus referral bonuses to install Facebook’s Research app, the included VPN app that routes traffic to Facebook, and to ‘Trust’ the company with root network access to their phone. That lets Facebook pull in a user’s web browsing activity, what apps are on their phone and how they use them, and even decrypt their encrypted traffic. Facebook went so far as to ask users to screenshot and submit their Amazon order history. Facebook uses all this data to track competitors, assess trends, and plan its product roadmap."

    In a statement, Facebook objected to parts of TechCrunch’s report.

    “Key facts about this market research program are being ignored,” the company said. “Despite early reports, there was nothing ‘secret’ about this; it was literally called the Facebook Research App. It wasn’t ‘spying’ as all of the people who signed up to participate went through a clear on-boarding process asking for their permission and were paid to participate. Finally, less than 5 percent of the people who chose to participate in this market research program were teens. All of them with signed parental consent forms.”

    The company also denied that Facebook Research was intended to replace Onavo, although it did not respond to evidence that the apps shared similar code.

    How this will pan out down the road remains to be seen. Facebook has a long way to go to become the next JD Powers, but even those who are the most skeptical have to admit, it was a brilliant move. If they can pull this off it will make a huge impact on market research as we know it. However, I tend to get a little ahead of myself.

    The question remains whether or not people who use the platform will be willing to give up more information to Facebook. The company does state it won't sell your data to third party apps or publicly share the results. Many hurdles are ahead and I am not sure the timing of this is the best.

    What do you think? Can Facebook be trusted? How could this impact market research?



  • 10 Nov 2019 8:06 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)




    Feel like you’ve finally got a handle on social media marketing? You’re posting to Facebook and Twitter regularly, your Instagram account is growing, and your content is becoming more relevant to your viewers and customers. But wait, there’s a new trend on the horizon! Well actually, it’s now new. But TikTok is quickly becoming the latest craze in social media usage among the younger generations.

    TikTk is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos - often to a soundtrack of the top hits in music - right from your phone. It was originally called Musical.ly in the U.S. but was rebranded when the two apps merged in August 2018. With more than 100 million users, TikTok is incredibly popular. Users can watch and record videos of themselves lip-synching to popular music and sound bites, and then connect with friends and admirers through likes, comments, and even duets.

    Rachel Pedersen, an organic social marketing pro and host of the Social Media Secrets podcast, was first introduced to TikTok through the popularity of the song “Baby Shark”. She and her children decided to join the fun by sharing their own rendition of the song. In spite of having only six followers, her first video was viewed by 9,400 people by the next day. She immediately saw a big opportunity in TikTok that neither Facebook nor Instagram could deliver. Eager to learn more, Rachel created videos almost every day and watched her TikTok following grow to nearly 2,600 within 60 days.

    Although unplanned, this launched Rachel’s career as a social media consultant. She attributes TikTok’s growth to a number of factors. “We’re moving into an era of shorter attention spans. Most people are only interested in things for 15 seconds, like videos you see on TikTok, movie trailers, or ads. Within those 15 seconds, the viewer gets to decide whether they want to binge more content. The trick is finding a way to capture and sustain their attention in that 15 seconds, especially if they’ve never heard of you”, she explains.

    How Does TikTok Work?

    TikTok features two side-by-side feeds. The main feed on the right features a stream of content that’s been tailored “For You.” As you scroll through these videos, you can follow the accounts, engage with the content, and more. The feed on the left features content from accounts you already follow. You can easily switch back and forth between the two feeds. When you open the app for the first time, you’re presented with a clear news feed. It doesn’t know your preferences so what shows up in the For You feed will be totally random. Once you start following and interacting with other users, the app will begin surfacing similar content and creators in the For You feed.

    All videos in TikTok are vertical and take up your entire phone screen. A majority of the content is typically 15 seconds or shorter, but the video clips have since been expanded to up to 60 seconds. All TikTok videos are looping.

    Why Marketers Should Pay Attention to TikTok

    TikTok offers a brand new opportunity for marketers because they will likely be the first of their generation to be on it. Most marketers haven’t moved to TikTok, but it’s gaining traction and being introduced to the masses. According to data and demographics, TikTok is currently in 154 countries with about 500 million active users. It has consistently been in the top 10 most downloaded apps in the App Store. Among TikTok’s users, about 66% are younger than 30, But there seem to be plenty of younger moms and others who seem young, which means TikTok is an ideal platform for any brand wanting to get in front of this valuable audience.

    Creating Content

    When you open the TikTok app to create content, there are several different options for getting started. Similar to Instagram Stories, you can hold down the button for the entire duration of the video to natively record. You can set up a self-timer and record from a distance. You can also create a series of short segments that come together to form a longer video. Users can then add awesome effects and text throughout different parts of their videos to make them interesting and fun. TikTok videos can also be downloaded and repurposed for other platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

    Videos on TikTok are a combination of lip-syncing to original and uploaded music, sound effects and audio clips, rants, and anything else the imagination can create. Lately though, users are moving away from singing along to music and going more towards creating their own clever renditions of songs. The user will sing new lyrics to a song and create a video with a funny take, creative interpretation, or double meaning of the words.

    Nurture a Younger Audience

    Rachel says that she plans to use TikTok for exposure and growth over the next year. She’ll do this by nurturing a younger following on the platform and preparing this audience to know who she is in the next 10 or 20 years.

    Adding Bio and Links to TikTok

    Although the platform currently doesn’t support clickable links within the videos, users can include a link in their TikTok bios. Rachel noticed a jump in her website traffic when another user visited her profile and read the URL in her bio during a live broadcast on TikTok. Like video captions, the bios on TikTok are also limited to 140 characters of plain text and emojis. The 140 characters can include a link to your website; however, the URL isn’t clickable. You can upload one profile photo and your previous ones aren’t saved in an album as they are on Facebook.

    What Marketers Need to Know About TikTok

    Videos that are overproduced, too corporate, or overtly promotional tend to perform poorly. Rachel has witnessed people go crazy in the comments when they sense a user is trying to sell them something or sneak in an ad. In order to blend in, take time to research what the content on TikTok feels like. Watch other people’s videos and start to identify and adopt the trends you see.

    Upcoming TikTok Ads Program

    TikTok is tinkering with the idea of integrating advertising with a new self-serve ad platform as major brands try to reach the younger demographic on the platform. Macy’s recently used TikTok to run a back-to-school campaign targeting high school and college kids. Rachel recalls alcohol brands, concerts, big parties, and musicians being promoted on TikTok too. Once TikTok’s ad program is fully rolled out, marketers will be able to diversify their clients and offer something beyond Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all of the other trusted platforms we’ve relied upon until this point. You’ll begin seeing more ads throughout the feed and notifications in the future.


  • 31 Oct 2019 1:52 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    Written by:  Jimmy Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING

    I am a student of influence marketing. I am constantly evaluating what constitutes a trustworthy influencer. It has been months since I posted an influence marketing article. The last one was back in June on my company’s blog titled Virtual Authenticity?  I detailed the emergence of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) influencers, specifically “fashionista” Miquela Sousa https://smartketing.com/2019/06/04/virtual-authenticity/ @lilmiquela. How authentic is a digital/virtual avatar posting pre-scripted content?

    This past month, I read several articles about human behavior, specifically emotional connectivity. As a result, I am now beginning to question whether marketers can truly identify, thus connect with brand advocates who are at the epicenter of their influence marketing movements.

     Case in point: The term authenticity has grown in popularity. Recent studies indicate authenticity is driven by the different core values of consumers and the emotional trust evoked by their online engagement. Sound deep? Definitely!  However, in an era of flash digital engagement (a.k.a. social media) and questionable online product/service reviews, how deep is our understanding of the core values of the people with whom we engage?

    Also fueling my current confusion is the new book “Talking to Strangers” by renown author, story teller Malcolm Gladwell.  Mr. Gladwell advocates we tend to be too trusting of people with tragic results, thus suggests we need to approach strangers with caution and humility. Malcolm’s hypothesis was achieved via numerous anecdotes detailing how we evaluate other people.

    How well do you know and trust your brand’s advocates?




  • 12 Oct 2019 12:41 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Girls and Social Media

    Are you the parent of teenagers or pre-teens? Then I’m sure you are aware of their social media habits and usage. Many parents of both boys and girls have noticed big differences in the way their kids use technology, with their sons gravitating to video games and their daughters spending more screen time scrolling through social media.

    And emerging research indicates that brain differences between males and females help account for the split. Larry Cahill, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, has spent two decades researching gender differences in the brain. He chronicled the aggression some boys exhibit when they have to shut off videogames and transition to other activities, as well as the problems some young men face when they go to college and have to juggle game time and school work without mom and dad’s help.

    So why don’t girls have the same problems? When it comes to videogames, most girls seem to have a better handle on when to stop. But social media’s impact is much more detrimental to girls than boys.

    Data from Pew Research Center shows that, in general, women use social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest more than men. Many girls and women are drawn to those photo-sharing sites because they like to form bonds and find similarities, says Rosanna Guadagno, a social psychologist at Stanford University. Experts and parents say they have found that girls appear to have a greater fear of missing out, which compels them to keep up with what their friends are posting. Some recent studies show that girls feel the ill effects of too much social media use, such as depression and anxiety, more than boys do.

    Liz Repking, a cyber safety expert and mother of three in suburban Chicago, has seen the differences in her own sons and daughter. Earlier this summer, her 15-year-old daughter said her phone was driving her crazy. She told her that she felt pressured to follow her friends’ Instagram stories and like and comment on their posts, and that it was eating up a lot of her time, Ms. Repking said.

    Her sons, 18 and 21, use social media—Snapchat, in particular—mostly to communicate with friends but don’t feel compelled to keep up with what people are posting. “There’s more peer pressure and validation I see with it for her than for the boys,” she said.

    Boys and girls also have differing perceptions of the amount of time they spend using various technologies. Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to say they spend too much time on social media (47% vs. 35%). By contrast, boys are roughly four times as likely to say they spend too much time playing video games (41% of boys and 11% of girls say this).

    Anxiety and Social Media

    Teens encounter a range of emotions when they do not have their cellphones, but anxiety tops the list. The survey asked about five different emotions teens might feel when they do not have their cellphones, and “anxious” (mentioned by 42% of teens) is the one cited by the largest share. Around ¼ say they feel lonely (25%) or upset (24%) in these instances. In total, 56% associate the absence of their cellphone with at least one of these negative emotions.

    And it probably won’t shock you to hear that another major study has found a strong link between heavy social media use and depression - this time, among 14-year-olds. Surprisingly, among the “heaviest users” group, girls outnumber boys two to one. The more a person of either gender used social media, the greater the likelihood of depression. But even when boys and girls spent exactly the same amount of time on social media, the depression risk for girls was significantly higher.

    Using data from over 10,000 14-year-olds who took part in the UK Millennium Cohort Study, researchers found 40% of girls admitted being on their social media accounts for more than three hours a day - compared to only 20% of boys. And across the board, more hours scrolling resulted in a greater risk of depression.

    Among teens who were on social media more than five hours a day, girls’ depression scores rose to 50% - while boys only increased to 35%. Why? Some experts suggest that girls make more comparisons between themselves and the images they view in a way that boys don’t. And that “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall” habit is notoriously bad for mental health.

    Other common factors for both boys and girls who are heavy social media users included lack of sleep and cyberbullying, with girls being more prone to the latter.

    If you notice changes in your teenagers, whether it be mood, isolation, or withdrawal from certain activities…check their social media usage. By getting ahead of any problems that are creeping to the surface, you can possibly save your child from the harmful effects of anxiety and depression.


  • 19 Sep 2019 10:27 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    This post shows the reality of fake news and stolen images online. It doesn't just happen in politics, it happens in day to day life of regular people. 

    From eChatter:

    Posted on September 19, 2019 by eChatter

    Fake News

    There should be a new reality TV show called, “People Post the Darndest Things.” I think most people would be shocked to see what Social Media Investigators see on a daily basis. It has helped thousands of fake workman’s comp cases because people will post things like jumping off a diving board after filing a claim for an injured back. Remember the guy who “faked” falling in the office cafeteria and it was caught on video?

    Images online are a Social Media Investigator’s best friend because once identified as the correct person of interest, it can lead you to much more information and data online. Recently, one such image was discovered by one of our OSINT specialists. While searching online, she discovered the following picture. Something about the image just didn’t look right. This was true given the fact that she had other photos to compare it with.

    Using one of our software platforms we were able to search the web for this exact image. We didn’t find one exactly like this, however we did find one that we realized was the original.

    Fake Image

    Photoshopped image using

    mirroring feature.

    Aubrey Plazza


    Actress Aubrey Plazza

    By conducting a reverse image search we found the original image online. This is the image of actress Aubrey Plaza.

    Many celebrities deal with this every day and it is a contributing factor in fake news online and in social media.

    In Digital Trends‘ article, “Can you spot a Photoshopped picture? Here are 9 ways to identify a fake photo“, Author Hillary K. Grigonis, shares how to become better at spotting a fake.

    Three Tips We Love:

    • Look for bad edges: Cropping around the edges of an object is tough to do. Zoom in on the photo in question and look at the edges of the objects. Overly sharp edges or jagged edges are a telltale sign that the object was simply pasted in over the original photo.
    • Be wary of poor quality: A low-resolution image file can help hide the signs of a faked photo. It’s difficult to see if the edges of the flag in that Seahawks photo blend because the entire image is pixelated, a good warning sign that something’s not quite right. With the widespread availability of high-speed internet today, it’s rare that an image would be uploaded at such a low resolution.
    • Look at the metadataDigital cameras embed “invisible” data inside the image file. While you can’t see the information in the image, accessing it is easy using a photo editor or even free online software.

    Are your photos safe online?

    For the most part, yes. However, there is a new undercurrent trend online that is growing with social media image sharing platforms like Instagram. Conducting a Google Reverse Image is one way to check to be sure photos are not being used without your approval.


  • 4 Sep 2019 11:32 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    This is an amazing infographic that shows companies that Facebook has acquired  over the years. Wow!

    Published By Social Media Today

     Sept. 4, 2019

    Facebook has made a heap of high profile acquisitions over time, including WhatsApp, Instagram - and almost Snapchat.

    But maybe more interesting than the major purchases are the smaller technology platforms which Facebook has acquired, and considering where they fit within the platform's broader roadmap. Zuck and Co. have always been aggressive on this front, buying up potential competitors and tools to give them the upper hand.

    Could Facebook's acquisitions point to significant shifts in its future direction?

    With this in mind, it's worth taking a look at this updated infographic from the team at Techwyse which outlines all the companies that Facebook has bought up over time. There are 72 purchases in total, and Facebook remains active on this front.

    Check out the full infographic below. 

    Listing of companies acquired by Facebook


  • 28 Aug 2019 5:20 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    There are over 3.5 billion daily users on social media, which means at some point your target audience is talking about their retail experiences and discussing their favorite products. Customer service issues can now be handled via social media as well as speaking directly with brands. Customers and businesses are even communicating one-on-one and using social media to do so.

    YouTube has now caught on and there has been a rise in video marketing to appeal to different audiences. The platform hosts more than 1.9 billion logged-in users each month and those numbers continue to rise along with its popularity.

    There is no doubt your business is sure to find its target market with all that YouTube has to offer. Here’s how to use YouTube’s products and services to best appeal to customers and their interests.

    1. YouTube Live

    Live stream has taken over social media…through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Facebook reported that people are three times more likely to watch a live stream on the platform than a regular video because events happening at the moment are more interesting than videos from the past. Customers agree it’s more captivating to see something happening in real-time.

    YouTube’s very own live streaming platform, YouTube Live, offers the same capability. Viewers engage with live video eight times longer compared to regular video, boosting your channel’s engagement rates and driving traffic to your channel. YouTube Live can be used to broadcast a Q&A session, showcase your products and services, introduce an influencer, and more.

    2. 360-degree videos

    Another fascinating trend is the 360-degree video. Viewers can use their mouse to click on a video and place the screen in the perspective they want it. The video continues to play even as you move the content around on the screen and interact with it.

    360-degree videos provide a virtual reality experience users can enjoy from their laptop or mobile phones. Brands can use this feature to show products and services in ways they previously haven’t. Users can now explore a brand’s content and choose to look from whatever perspective they prefer.

    3. How-to tutorials

    What do you prefer when trying to solve a problem or find a DIY solution? A video or step-by-step written instructions? Many users say they gravitate towards video tutorials that teach them how to do something or talk extensively about how to solve a problem.

    According to Google, 67% of millennials can find a YouTube video on anything they want to learn. Every minute, up to 400 hours of video are uploaded into its database, with how-to videos remaining a popular genre to consume. But, over the years, this method has made all the difference for businesses trying to elevate their brand and sell their products. With how-to videos, users get a first-hand look at how brands can get rid of their problems and simplify their lives.

    4. Celebrity endorsements

    Retail businesses clearly know the value of having a major celebrity endorse their brands and products. But now, celebrities are using video for their own gains.

    YouTube and other live streaming outlets are being used by celebrities to deepen their connection with fans, essentially becoming creators. Will Smith may not have released a single movie in 2018, but he still reigned supreme thanks to the videos he shared on YouTube, showing off his travels, performing the world’s greatest “In My Feelings Challenge,” and even bungee jumping from a helicopter into the Grand Canyon.

    How much more valuable is a celebrity endorsement when the star is not only connected to the product on TV ads and billboards, but when they’re also producing related videos for their fans? Rihanna’s tutorial Tuesday videos for her makeup brand Fenty are a great example of this in action.

    YouTube is a platform you definitely want to utilize if you plan on strategizing your business for higher conversions and engagement rates. Video, and more specifically live streaming, is a fan favorite and people aren’t giving it up any time soon. By adding it to your marketing strategy, you’re ensured a better chance of achieving your goals and reaching success.


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