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  • 25 May 2017 9:58 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Many of our social media feeds are dominated by beautiful, mouth-watering photos of food. These photos inspire some serious food envy but could they also educate and encourage healthier eating?

    That was the question explored by a team of researchers from the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The results of the study were presented at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Denver, CO.

    "We know that humans learn by observing each other," said Marissa Burgermaster, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and first author of the paper. "Our research explored whether we could leverage the popularity of online quizzes and food photos to develop new ways to teach people about nutrition."

    So, Burgermaster and co-author Lena Mamykina, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University, teamed up with Krzysztof Gajos, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at SEAS, to develop an online experiment to test how people learn about nutrition.

    Gajos is a pioneer in online experiments. In 2011, he co-founded LabInTheWild, an online platform for conducting behavioral research with unpaid, online volunteers.

    Behavioral studies performed in conventional labs are often constrained by time, size and a homogenous volunteer pool -- usually a group of undergrads from similar backgrounds. But online platforms like LabInTheWild can collect experimental data from a large group of volunteers from diverse backgrounds over extended periods of time.

    "Online experiments offer controlled but real-world environments to learn about the mechanisms of behavior," said Gajos. "These platforms offer a faster theory to experiment cycle and can provide more reliable data since the unpaid volunteers are motivated by curiosity or interest in social comparison."

    Using LabInTheWild, the researchers designed an experiment to test how people learn about nutrition in the context of a social, online quiz. The team was specifically interested in participants' knowledge of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber.

    The experiment asked participants to compare photographs of meals -- such as split pea soup and black bean soup -- and identify which meal was higher in a specific macronutrient, such as carbohydrates.

    After each answer, participants received one of the following responses:

    No feedback at all

    The percentage of participants who chose each response

    The correctness of their answer without additional explanation from an expert

    The correctness of their answer with additional explanation from an expert

    The correctness of their answer with explanations written by fellow quiz-takers

    Later in the quiz, participants were asked to evaluate another pair of meals that included the same key ingredients to measure whether or not they learned anything from the feedback they received.

    About 2000 people participated in the experiment over a six-month period.

    The researchers found that, unsurprisingly, the participants who received additional information explaining the correctness of their answer did better on the quiz and learned more than participants who got no feedback or no explanations.

    However, the team also found that there was no significant difference between explanations generated by experts and explanations generated by peers.

    "These findings suggest that rather than relying on experts to teach nutrition literacy online, we can corral the wisdom of the crowd to help people make more informed decisions to improve their health," said Mamykina.

    "We're never going to be able to unleash an army of expert nutritionists to correct all the nutrition information on social media," said Burgermaster. "But we can tap into a larger, online social network. Our research shows that those social platforms could be used for learning and to nudge people towards healthy behaviors."

    "This research is another example of the transforming relationship between science and society," said Gajos. "By participating in an online experiment, participants gained knowledge that directly impacts their own life and decision making."



    Source:

    http://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2017/05/learning-about-nutrition-from-food-porn-and-online-quizzes


  • 22 May 2017 10:25 AM | Mark Michelson

    by Christian Neri  |  May 20, 2017  as published in MarketingProfs

    In this week's 'Skim: A radical shift is underway pitting Facebook against LinkedIn as the go-to social network for professionals; Google introduces a search revolution with Google Lens; Instagram ups its Snapchat attack with new face filters; Facebook renews its war on clickbait with new algorithm change, and it cracks down on fake live videos; Twitter highlights new privacy features for users; a major search engine will begin surfacing chatbots in search results; what social platforms influencers care about most; and much more…

    Skim for all the latest on the changing social media landscape!

    1. Is Facebook replacing LinkedIn as the world's professional social network?

    HubSpot's 2017 State of Inbound unveils a dramatic shift in B2B social media marketing, and all brands need to take notice: Nearly as many professionals are opting for Facebook as LinkedIn. Fully 74% of respondents reported using Facebook for professional reasons, versus 78% for LinkedIn.

    The survey also finds that in certain regions, such as Latin America, people are using Facebook for professional reasons more often than they're using LinkedIn! What does all this mean? B2B marketers who haven't already begun incorporating Facebook ads and a well thought-out strategic plan and budget for the platform might need to start doing so.

    The following chart illustrates the radical shift in use of the two social giants, but be sure to check out Josic's write-up for more in-depth analysis of what the change means for marketers.

    2. Google brings augmented reality to search with Lens

    The tech giant on Wednesday announced a major push into augmented reality (AR) with the introduction of Google Lens—a tool that not only allows users to query its search engine by snapping a photo of something in the real world but also overlays digital images on what users would normally see through their phones' camera lenses.

    Whereas Facebook and Snapchat have used AR to make people laugh, Google Lens—available later this year—aims for utility. Users will be able to point their camera at a dog so Google can tell them what breed it is, or users can check out the reviews of a restaurant by aiming a camera at the outside of the restaurant and waiting for a digital scorecard to appear above the restaurant image.

    3. Instagram becomes even more Snapchat-y, adds face filters and eraser tool

    Instagram certainly doesn't waste any time developing the features that made Snapchat such a smash success in its early days. The Facebook-owned social network is introducing the ability for users to transform their selfies with animated face filters, as well as a new Rewind mode to put videos into reverse.

    Instagram also created the ability for users to include hashtags in their Stories, and a new eraser brush that emulates exactly what Snapchat introduced last week.

    4. Twitter announces new NFL livestreaming deal for 2017...

    But it won't include any games. Twitter lost that bet out to Amazon, which nabbed the rights to stream Thursday Night Football games this year. But Twitter's new deal will include live content and a brand new half-hour digital series that will be hosted by NFL talent and will air five nights per week during football season.

    Live pregame coverage will include Periscope broadcasts, such as play warm-ups and sideline interviews, with the social networking attempting to provide fans with a behind-the-scenes experiences prior to games. Still, whereas Twitter garnered 2 million viewers for its debut game last year, over 48 million watched on TV, so Twitter still faces a (steep) uphill battle.

    5. Facebook News Feed change renews war on clickbait

    The days of shocking headlines that you just can't scroll past without clicking might be coming to an end. Facebook is taking a new approach to tackle clickbait by taking it into account at the post level, as well as the domain and page levels.

    The social network will also now scan posts that have headlines that withhold information or exaggerate information, so publishers will have to get a little more creative to draw attention to their posts.

    Facebook engineers say Pages that don't rely on clickbait for readership should see minimal impact in terms of distribution on News Feeds. Although Facebook's power over publishers can sometimes be a scary thought, we think the social network is on the right side of history for this one.

    6. Twitter adds new personalization, data-usage capabilities for users

    Want to control how the social network can use your demographic, interest, and other information? Alongside a new Privacy Policy, Twitter is rolling out updates that allow users to control how their information is used on the social network, all within the Your Twitter Data section at www.Twitter.com.

    Users will now be able to see which advertisers have included them in their tailored audiences, and use the Twitter Personalization and data section to decide how their information might be shared in conjunction with certain Twitter partnerships, as well as opt out of various data-usage and sharing options.

    7. Facebook adds way for Groups to screen members

    The social network introduced a way for administrators to screen potential Group members via a questionnaire before they are added to the Group. Admins can now add up to three questions that users must respond to prior to being approved for new membership, a move that Mark Zuckerberg thinks will help Facebook Groups serve as true communities and let users more quickly connect with those who share common interests.

    Questions—the answers to which are visible only to admins and moderators—are open-ended, and users can respond to them with up to 250 characters each. Applicants can review and edit their answers until their responses are reviewed by moderators. The new feature could mean helping your brand create more qualified leads via Facebook Groups by more easily screening out potential duds.

    Will you use Facebook Group's new questionnaire feature?

    8. Snapchat unleashes new augmented reality ads for brands

    Snapchat came off a very rough week after its first earnings report with a new ad unit for marketers that gives them the ability to overlay images or words on the world surrounding users' Snaps.

    Unlike other ad units, the new unit, dubbed Sponsored World Lenses, doesn't require users to use the front-facing camera and take a selfie; they can simply scan the world around them and watch magical graphics augment their perspective. Warner Bros. was the first to use the new ad format to promote an upcoming movie.

    Snapchat also launched the ability for marketers to target their face-distorting "Lenses" to users based on age, gender, or the content they view in Snapchat's Discover section.

    9. Bing search results now include chatbots

    Microsoft's search engine, Bing, has decided to include chatbots from Facebook, Slack, Kik, and other chat platforms in its search results. The change comes as bot developers continue to press the likes of Facebook to improve the discoverability of bots—the issue many view as the key factor hindering growth for the once highly anticipated bot revolution.

    The Microsoft Bot Framework now includes over 130,000 developers, and the company has integrated the ability for consumers to make payments and publish bots to Skype for Business, Bing, and Cortana.

    10. Facebook cracks down on fake live videos

    Some brands and publishers have been taking advantage of Facebook's prioritization of Facebook Live videos within its algorithm; they've been producing live streams that serve no other purpose than counting down the days to the end of the year, for example, and Facebook is ready to change that.

    Facebook added a section to its Live API Facebook Platform Policy that states developers shouldn't static, looping, or animated graphics and images, or live-stream polls with unmoving broadcasts. The explicit policy change comes after it was revealed that half of the top 10 Live videos of 2016 weren't actually live.

    11. What social networks influencers care about most

    Looking to incorporate influencer marketing into your social media marketing strategy? Look to Instagram. According to a recent study, the Facebook-owned picture- and video-sharing network is not only the social network used most by influencers, but also the one they focus on most.

    Fully 99% of survey respondents—a group of over 300 influencers—post content on Instagram, with Facebook and Snapchat rounding off the top three platforms with 67% and 51%, respectively. But where do influencers think they'll focus their energy on in 2018? Check out the full post on MarketingProfs for essential details!

    12. We'll wrap with a warning for brands that want to talk like the kids

    Getting #Lit, claiming #SquadGoals, or saying your product or service is on #fleek might not be the best way for your brand to reach its younger consumers. That's according to a report from Sprout Social, which highlights the top behaviors demanded by consumers of brands, and places snark and slang way down on the list of desired messaging.

    Though users initially got a kick out of brands that were early adopters of humor, sass, and incorporating cultural trends on social, their feelings have reportedly cooled, and fans now expect messaging in line with a brand's identity. Now, nearly seven out of ten respondents report brands' using slang as irritating, even if marketers are simply trying to humanize their brand.

    The takeaway? It's time to re-evaluate your brand's approach on social media, ensuring that your identity matches that of your goals as well as your consumers' sensibilities.



    Christian Neri is a digital marketing professional in the film & television industry, and a contributor to MarketingProfs. An American expat in Paris, he recently completed his MS in digital marketing at IÉSEG School of Management.

    Instagram: @christianneri

    Twitter: @christianneri

  • 20 May 2017 11:45 AM | Mark Michelson

    by Jen Handley  |  May 19, 2017

    Published in MarketingProfs

    With nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) using social networking sites on a daily basis, the quantity of comments online is increasing at an exponential pace. Usually, customers head to social media sites as a first stop on the road to evaluating a purchase of any kind; and 66% of people trust opinions posted online—even by total strangers— according to Nielsen.

    Social media's importance in the sales/marketing funnel is by now undisputed, but visibility into the insights each platform can provide is often clouded by meaningless metrics. With data pouring in from dashboards, are you sure members of your marketing team are taking the time to determine the importance of those insights, and do they even know where to look?

    Here are three ways your team should be using social insights to guide major marketing decisions.

    1. To Understand Your Audience

    Gaining 1,000 new followers on Twitter looks great on paper, but it doesn't necessarily move the needle for your brand. But creating positive, organic conversation can. Understanding your online audience means looking beyond the surface layers of retweets and shares.

    Instead of focusing on what is being said about your brand, focus on who is saying it. How does your engaged audience compare with that of your competitors, and how do they self-describe? These audiences tend to write their own personas (literally); often, their Twitter bios contain their defining characteristics in 140 characters or less.

    For example, Dollar Shave Club, the popular male-focused razor delivery service, realized 26% of social conversation related to it was stemming from a female audience in 2016. Stats like that should spark a conversation about target audiences, and using social media can give you a picture in real-time of the audiences you are reaching, as well as what is important to them.

    2. To Spot Trends Within Target Segments

    Once you understand who your audience is, the next step is to get to know them a bit better. Marketers need to understand what is happening on social media within their target markets—and what it means for their brand if they want to stay abreast of the next big trend coming down the pike.

    Affinity groups, or the segments of your audience that share a common interest or background, are often overlooked. These groups tend to be more fluid than traditional buyer personas. The interests of an affinity group change and transform based on trends and events within their area of interest.

    For example, identifying an affinity group with a shared love of the Harry Potter series at its core can lead to marketing insights based on the trending topics within this group. What was the overall sentiment of the group versus other groups after seeing the latest movie? Are they excited to buy Harry Potter themed merchandise? Do they see any gaps in Harry Potter products available in stores?

    Social media is a place to identify the kinds of topics are important to your brand's audience segments, and incorporate those topics into your content strategy to bring any fringe followers into the fold. Just be careful not to exploit their interests or sensitive social issues. Public brands often face social scrutiny when jumping on the trend-jacking bandwagon.

    If not careful, marketers can easily slip into appearing exploitative about their customers' conversations. Take, for example, Gap and American Apparel's 2012 tweets, which capitalized on chatter surrounding Hurricane Sandy. Although meant to remind shoppers to stay safe, the content angered customers who saw the move as calculating and thoughtless.

    3. To Determine the Success of Marketing Campaigns

    Social data can also be harnessed to dig into brand perception associated with specific marketing initiatives. Tracking keywords affiliated with your most recent branded campaign is a good start, but grading sentiment is where things start to get interesting.

    Say, for example, you recently landed a huge (i.e., expensive) celebrity endorsement. Odds are your team will want to evaluate ROI. Use keywords associated with the celebrity paired with branded keywords to measure volume. Then, pull out common phrases and grade sentiment from positive to neutral to negative to paint a full picture of the social landscape your recent big buy is helping create: Is the reaction completely positive? How much conversation is this celeb driving compared with previous campaigns? And, more important, are new audiences being brought into the conversation?

    2016 was the year of celebrity-founded activewear brands. From Beyoncé's Ivy Park and Kate Hudson's Fabletics to Calia by Carrie Underwood and Impact by Jillian Michaels. Fast fashion companies were popping up left and right. When you compare the brands by looking at key conversation drivers associated with the celebs themselves, Ivy Park pulls away from the pack as the clear winner. While 73% of Calia conversation was driven by Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé drove only 11% of Ivy Park's buzz, showing the brand stood on its own—separate from the celebrity co-founder. This type of insight is invaluable when determining whether your brand will stand the test of time (and the criticism of the Internet).

    Bottom Line

    Many tools are available to pull useful social media data for your marketing team, but nothing is more valuable than simply looking beyond your brand's scheduled posts and direct mentions. Dive into your list of followers and start getting to know them. Set up Twitter lists to segment your audience. Research the trends across each segment, and respond accordingly.

    Social media is the world's biggest, fastest, most honest focus group. Don't let that feedback fall on deaf ears.

  • 18 May 2017 11:28 AM | Mark Michelson
    By Sweta Patel | May 18, 2017 as published on Social Media Examiner


    Do you want to track the effectiveness of your social media marketing?

    Wondering which social media tactics are paying off?

    By defining and tracking a few key data points, you can determine whether your marketing is on target.

    In this article, you’ll discover seven social media metrics to help you gauge your marketing’s effectiveness.

    #1: Assess Discoverability via Mentions and Inbound Links

    How can you make sure the right people discover you on social media? One way is via your posts. The more your content is dispersed and distributed, the more your business shines and the easier it is for your target audience to find you. If your follower and fan metrics are increasing, your reach is increasing too.

    Your total number of followers or fans is only the initial metric, though. You also need to measure the value of your relationships with followers as seen through their interactions with you. Look at the number of mentions or tags. Do people respond to your posts, share your content, or talk about you?

    The number of mentions corresponds with the number of times someone has mentioned your business. This happens in different ways on different social platforms. Perhaps someone replied on Instagram or Twitter using your tag (@SpeedQueenHome, for example). When someone responds to or interacts with your shared content, there’s often a mention.

    Users might tag your business on social media.

    Users might tag your business on social media.

    Users, fans, and followers can also mention you in their own social posts and comments outside of your content.

    Users might also mention your business by name in their social posts.

    Users might also mention your business by name in their social posts.

    If your audience isn’t mentioning you online, perhaps the content you’re sharing isn’t resonating with them. Consider running a few split tests with your audience before you choose which messages to proliferate.

    While every industry is different, your social media efforts should yield some results such as mentions. If you have a very small following and several mentions, your content and presence are relevant but you need to look into some audience growth strategies.

    If you have a huge following but few interactions and mentions, either your content isn’t relevant or you’ve run ad campaigns that have attracted ill-targeted followers and they’re not doing you any good. Again, the solution is to invest time and energy into growing your audience.

    After you view the number of mentions, you can use a host of third-party tools or Google Search Console to take a look at the number of inbound links. Inbound links show how many times people are linking back to your website or blog. From an SEO perspective, you’re building both authority and discoverability when others share your content.

    Use a third-party tool to see the number of inbound links from each site that links to your content.

    Use a third-party tool to track the number of inbound links your site has.

    #2: Evaluate Engagement From Audience Interaction

    How likely is your audience to share your content? When your followers and fans feel motivated to spread your message, your engagement can increase exponentially.

    You’ll find engagement levels through different metrics in your social media insights. Engagement can be in the form of retweets, forwards to a friend, comments, likes, shares, and inbound links.

    Track various social media metrics to gauge engagement.

    Track various social media metrics to gauge engagement.

    You’ll also want to look at your traffic from social media in Google Analytics. Click on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. You must set your dimension to Social to see the full social report based on the channel. From this report, you’ll be able to determine which social network is your best traffic source.

    Look at your Google Analytics to see which social network is delivering the most traffic.

    Look at your Google Analytics to see which social network is delivering the most traffic.

    By analyzing the conversion rates on all of your social channels, you can determine what types of content to promote on each channel. This data gives you a better understanding of how you can publish more on popular topics.

    #3: Measure the Impact of Influencer Marketing

    If you’re looking to amplify your reach and engagement on social media, consider bringing in influencers. Look for influencers who have developed a following that’s relevant to your business. Influencers aren’t competitors, but they’re reaching the very target market you want to touch.

    For example, you could bring influencers to your brick-and-mortar business and have them post about it, or offer them your product for free in return for a shout-out on social media (and possibly their blog, Yelp, etc.).

    So how do you measure the effectiveness of influencer marketing? By understanding the number of brand evangelists and advocates you have, and how they’re helping you grow.

    The first step in building an influencer marketing strategy is to search for influencers who will deliver the most value. A good tool for influencer research is BuzzSumo. You can then use tools like Traackrand GroupHigh to help you maintain relationships with the influencers you’ve identified with BuzzSumo.

    It’s important to know what conversations are being shared with your audience. You also want to know what network is bringing in the most shares. Use unique UTM codes for each influencer to help determine which are driving the most traffic for you.

    You can use UTM codes to track traffic from influencers.

    You can use UTM codes to track traffic from influencers.

    #4: Gauge Sentiment via Your Net Promoter Score and Audience Surveys

    Do you know how your target audience feels about your content and your brand in general? Is the sentiment positive? Or does your content need improvement?

    The net promoter score (NPS) helps you gauge the sentiment of your audience. To calculate your NPSsurvey your customers with the following question: On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being highest, what’s the likelihood that you would recommend us (our company) to a friend or colleague? You can use the NPS Calculator to get an idea of how your brand is measuring up.

    Your Net Promoter Score helps you assess the sentiment of your audience.

    Your Net Promoter Score helps you assess the sentiment of your audience.

    A tool like Mention will also help you gain insight into how your audience feels about your brand. You can see how others view your brand and measure brand sentiment.

    Once you know the sentiment of your audience, develop a series of surveys to understand the sentiment on each social network. Try using 6 different surveys with a sample size of 250 or more on each network to get an average of your best-performing networks. The surveys will let you see how engaged the audience is with your current content and identify areas you can improve.

    The goal is to measure the sentiment for each network.

    #5: Examine Internal Engagement

    Is internal engagement just as important as external engagement? Most teams believe it’s all about building and growing your audience. But how can an audience be passionate about what you do if your team doesn’t set the bar?

    Dynamic Signal is a great tool to gauge your employees’ interest in the content you share.

    Dynamic Signal helps you measure your employees' interest in what you share.

    Dynamic Signal helps you measure your employees’ interest in what you share.

    You can measure your spending against your goals and KPIs. The most effective content assets for measurement include blog posts, ebooks, videos, and presentations.

    #6: Calculate Conversions From Your Social Channels

    Start measuring the conversions from your social media efforts to see if they’re paying off. Conversions include subscription metrics, registered users, and the number of leads from your social media channels. You also need to understand the conversion rate from the social network to the lead.

    Which social networks are converting the most leads? What’s the rate they’re converting leads? You can use Google Analytics to determine your conversion rates.

    Google Analytics can help you determine which social media platforms are converting the most leads.

    Google Analytics can help you determine which social media platforms are converting the most leads.

    #7: Determine the ROI of Your Social Media

    At the end of the day, the big question is how many sales are you generating from your social media marketing? What’s the cost per lead?

    If you set up UTM URLs for each action, you’ll be able to view the metrics you need to understand which programs are paying offand which programs need improvement.

    You can use a single-touch attribution model, which allows you to see if the lead came in from a single source of social media. This can be in the form of first touch or last touch. What was the lead’s first activity with you? What was their last activity?

    If you use the multi-touch model, you’ll be able to determine if the lead came in from multiple sources.

    For example, suppose users do a Google search for your site and then see two social posts on Facebook. Next, they decide to go on Twitter to download your latest ebook, which they then purchased. This would give 40% of the weight to Google and the ebook and 20% credit to the two social posts on Facebook.

    Determine which model is best for your business and understand how social media is impacting revenue within the organization.

    Conclusion

    In your efforts to become a shining star on social media, you’ll need to pay attention to these seven metrics. Each one gives you insight into your accomplishments. Together, they empower you and your business to continue on the path to creating a relevant brand presence with a positive ROI.



  • 15 May 2017 5:36 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    by Alex Jones 

    The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry has been in flux. Changes in customer demographics, increases in online product research, and uncertainties about retail shelf space are all affecting the relationship between CPG companies and consumers. A trend of missed connections and opportunities is definitely present in this sector.

    As the CPG industry and its customer base evolve, maintaining strong relationships with consumers and collecting the right metrics are imperative. To make informed decisions in the current market, consumer goods brands must adapt their communication and customer care strategies. And, today, social intelligence is an invaluable tool for gathering market insights, helping to improve customer engagement activities and marketing objectives.

    Some CPG brands have already found success in implementing social data into their digital strategies, yet the majority have yet to include social into their marketing and research mixes. Yet they need to, and soon.

    Formulating a social plan from scratch is a daunting task and may prove inefficient if the focus is misguided or if KPIs aren't clearly outlined at the outset. However, done right, social intelligence can add value by strengthening customer relationships, obtaining valuable insights, and allowing business professionals to make better decisions across the organization.

    Beyond Content Distribution

    Too often, CPG companies consider social media solely a channel for content distribution, and fail to recognize the role social intelligence can play in their marketing and business strategies.

    In reality, social media can and should be used for so much more than content distribution. Social media is a vehicle to converse directly with customers and build personal relationships. It's also a helpful resource to gather consumer and market insights (CMI).

    Moreover, brands should avoid keeping social media efforts in a silo. They need to explore the myriad ways social insights can provide value across the organization, in departments as varied as inventory planning, customer support, and campaign management.

    We've identified three prominent applications of social intelligence among leading CPG companies:

    Benchmarking business objectives

    Measuring brand health

    Gathering consumer insights to conduct market research

    To garner full value from their social intelligence strategies, CPG companies should be mindful of incorporating those three initiatives into their social plans.

    Benchmarking Business Objectives

    Social is an excellent way to benchmark business objectives, especially for CPG companies. Goals may vary across brands or departments, yet there are endless metrics available within social data.

    Companies producing heavily branded content should compare overall share-of-voice online against competitors to gauge differences in the volume and context of conversations. The results can inform marketers about how to adjust current campaigns and future initiatives to increase brand awareness.

    Alternatively, smaller niche brands that fulfill a specific use case or target a certain demographic should measure success around their respective goals and KPIs.

    For example, an organic skincare brand with a business objective of dominating the "natural" and "organic" conversations can segment online data by these adjectives and sentiments, so that they are only analyzing the discussions that matter. This type of benchmarking is also ideal for CPG companies with specific social missions, because analysts can hone in on specific conversations and avoid tracking larger, more mainstream brands that might not be relevant to the business's concerns.

    Measuring Brand Health

    Measuring brand health and conducting consumer trend surveys is one of the easiest ways for CPG companies to harness social data and analytics. Since these types of analyses tend to be conducted on an ongoing basis or during certain periods of time (e.g., monthly), the research process can be streamlined by using the same data search for each time frame, to measure the same benchmark repeatedly.

    These searches act as a snapshot over a designated period and can show changes in conversation around a brand. Once generated, these reports can be used as a foundation for more detailed market research.

    Gathering Consumer Insights for Market Research

    Social media has become an invaluable source for CMI research. Social consumer and market analysis can provide deeper insights than overall trend and brand health measurement, and it can be used to answer robust research questions.

    Though only a few CPG organizations conduct this type of research, the application of social listening and analytics provides outcomes that are among the most informative and fruitful for business.

    This type of research usually falls into one of two formats:

    Exploratory research is a type of social ethnography guided by data. In this method, there is no preconceived hypothesis, and the volume of social data available can provide a vast amount of insights without spending a large amount of time and money. An example would be looking into the demographics of people discussing a brand or product, and then proceeding to uncover unexpected insights based on those initial findings.

    Research with a specific goal to answer a "why" question. This method should be used to test a specific hypothesis or answer a specific question. For example, "Do people do more laundry in summer or winter?"

    * * *

    The incredible volume of social consumer insights available for research purposes should empower CPG companies to gain deeper insight about their customers, their behaviors, and the sector as a whole. Smart companies shouldn't let this area of social intelligence fall to the wayside. Incorporating social insights into the CPG research mix is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.


  • 15 May 2017 5:18 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    By: Emma Fitzpatrick


    Researchers discover the true value of a like

    Establishing, growing and engaging a social audience is simply part of doing business in 2017. And 90 percent of marketers said social media is important to their businesses in the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

    63 percent of marketers commit six or more hours per week to social media, while 19 percent spend more than 20 hours a week. In addition to time, we spend a lot of our marketing budget on social media.

    Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the past two years — going from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016. Come 2019, those in the U.S. alone are expected to spend $17.34 billion on social media advertising.

    While most of us are regularly analyzing our social media efforts, 58 percent of marketers said they were not able to measure their return on investment (ROI). In essence, we’re investing a lot of time, money and energy, and we're not quite sure whether it's worth it.

    That's why The Harvard Business Review has conducted 23 experiments over the last four years involving more than 18,000 people. They wanted to research whether attracting and engaging social media followers leads to increased sales.

    The researchers focused exclusively on Facebook because it's the dominant social network. Though, they believe their findings apply across all social media platforms.

    Here's what they learned — and what you should know, too.

    Do Facebook likes impact sales?

    Across 16 studies, they found no evidence that following a brand on social media changes, affects or influences people's purchasing behavior.

    Seeing a friend like and engage with a brand on Facebook had no effect on the purchasing habits of other friends.

    Boosting, sponsoring or advertising brand content to followers can have an impact. When a brand paid Facebook to display two posts each week to members of the group, those people participated 8 percent more.

    How to make Facebook work better for your brand

    Share and cultivate endorsements. Sharing and promoting engaged customers' posts — like a positive review or experience — provides significant value to influencing behavior. Gather those posts, share and boost them. Or try influencer marketing.

    Go beyond the like. For social endorsements to work and hold the power of word-of-mouth referrals, people need to know more. They want to know their friend is actually using your product or service and likes it. To get this content out there, try including a share button after someone makes a purchase or encourage them to leave a review on Facebook. The research did show that tactics like this can help influence online friends.

    Listen to your people. Those who follow and engage with your content on Facebook are going to be some of your most loyal customers. Create boosted, targeted content that asks them to submit user-generated content or leave feedback about a new product your brand is testing.

    Less than half of marketers (49 percent) said social media has not helped them improve sales, according to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. But 92 percent of marketers who invested six hours a week on social do believe it increased exposure.

    Using the data and insights above, though, your brand can likely improve sales and increase exposure even more.


  • 11 May 2017 4:33 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)
    Great Job Starbucks! 

    Starbucks is one brand who taps into social media conversations in order to learn more about what's hot out there (pop culture) and then creating something fun around it! 
    Unicorns are all the rave right now and by listening to social media conversations, they capitalized on it in a big way! Creating the drink, then marketing it for "only a short amount of time" drove demand and huge social media buzz. 
    However, they did make one mistake- they were not listening to what their Baristas were saying online about the drink. 





    Seems the drink was quite the production to make! With several different add ins, it drove employees crazy. 

    Starbucks did quite well overall with this crazy drink and drove customer engagement in social media in a huge way- so much so that their next new drink will be called Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino. 

    "Just stay tuned because we have a lot more coming," Howard Schulz, the company's former chief executive, said last week. He created the unicorn drink for driving "significant traffic, awareness (and) brand affinity" to the chain, which is recent quarters has struggled with disappointing sales.

  • 25 Apr 2017 2:58 PM | Mark Michelson

    By Tom H. C. Anderson

    Posted on the Next Gen Market Research Blog

    Guru-Turned-Researcher Offers Right and Wrong Uses of Social Data, Tips for Winning in Social, What Apps to Watch, and More!

    More than a decade since Facebook and Twitter became available to users worldwide and sparked the social media marketing revolution in earnest, social media data continues to perplex and tantalize market researchers.

    I personally get asked by clients about social media listening data all the time, and I’m still stunned by how many misconceptions and how much confusion abounds out there!

    So who better to kick off our first NGMR interview on the newly relaunched blog than a social media master strategist who has actually joined the ranks of consumer insights?

    Jason Falls is one of the most highly sought speakers in digital marketing today, a consultant to Fortune 500s, the driving force behind Social Media Explorer—one of the most widely read social media marketing blogs in the world—and co-author of “No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing” and “The Rebel’s Guide To Email Marketing.”

    In 2016, Falls became a bona fide consumer insights professional as founder and partner at Conversation Research Institute (CRI), which specializes in mining online conversations for consumer insights.

    In this interview, Jason and I covered a range of topics including right and wrong uses of social media listening data, tips for winning in social, what apps to watch, and more.

    I hope you get as much from the conversation as I did!

    Q&A with Jason Falls

    TA: Jason, you’re a social-media-guru-turned-market-researcher. Why did you decide to branch out into primary research using social data?

    JF: The story I tell is that I’m just a dumb hillbilly from Kentucky. I can make strategy recommendations all day but if I don’t have data to back up my assertions, I am marketing by assumptions. And you know what happens when we assume. That’s a fun way of saying I truly think the best creative strategies and ideas I’ve developed over the years come from understanding the audience better. Research insights fuel better thinking, more effective marketing and growth. Without them, you’re a guesswork marketer. In my experience, guesswork marketers don’t last very long.

    TA: You have quite an arsenal of tools you rely on, including several mainstream social media monitoring tools. Does one need more than one social media monitoring tool, and if so why?

    JF: Depending upon the complexity of your brand and what you’re trying to track and understand in conversations, you may or may not need more than one tool. Most businesses, quite honestly, don’t need more than one. But it’s really based on what you’re trying to accomplish. There are tools better for real-time engagement and customer service-like routing and documentation. There are listening tools that are built with your brand name and products in mind. There are research-oriented tools that are more focused on helping you understand audiences, topics and find relevant conversations around broad topics, not specific brand names. I can make a use case for all of those things for any brand, but I can’t recommend one tool that does all those things better than others. 

    Analytics software like OdinText is an important gap-filler in offering what I believe is a stronger text analytics engine and practice than automated tools can produce. Social listening platforms present pretty charts and graphs but they’re all about counting keywords. If one is present more than another, make it bigger, a different color, etc. They’re not as good at coding and categorizing the conversations in a meaningful hierarchy that makes sense to someone trying to understand all the context. OdinText is less worried about counting and more worried about contextualizing. That’s a big difference. 

    TA: I’m familiar with a few of your case studies and you’ve made some available on your site. What are the best kids of problems to solve using social media data, and as importantly, what kind of questions should you not expect it to answer for you?

    JF: Social conversations open doors to understand who your customers are, how they interact with your brand or products and how they interact with competitors and other forces at play in the market. What that means is that you can use social media conversations to understand use cases, product features and likes and dislikes of specific things like accessories or flavors or color schemes (to use some examples). These conversations can help you understand more about your customer experience and what’s good, bad, right or wrong about them. Plus think about this: You have audience demographics. You can also access psychographics in some cases. And with social media, you can see what I call socialgraphics (what people like, what content they read and interact with, who they’re friends with, who they follow, etc.)

    But with conversation research, now you can also see what they say, to whom, when and where. The Conversation Data can fuel better targeting, more relevant opportunities for touch points with your brand, audience segmentation and more. 

    Yet, conversation research has its limitations. With it, you don’t direct the conversation. You eavesdrop. People say what they naturally say. You have to hope they are talking about the topic you’re looking to understand. While CRI does have a research-based approach to instigating conversations when they aren’t there, the truth is that very specific brand curiosities may turn around no results. 

    Conversation research is also limited by the connection to user demographic data. While most listening tools are able to identify a user as male or female the truth is that core demographic data like gender, ethnicity and location are typically scraped from social media bios. No only do some people not provide that information, but it isn’t necessarily accurate. None of the tools that I know of connect social activity to household income, either. That limits how effective conversation research can be with luxury products or services focused on people of a certain socioeconomic status.

    TA: What do you see people doing wrong with regard to social media analysis?

    JF: They’re relying on the tools alone. The last three research projects I’ve conducted included very specific and lengthy Boolean parameters of what we were looking for. A sophisticated tool should return a high degree of relevant results. But three different platforms turned around no greater than 9% relevant conversations. So out of 1,000 posts, I’m hoping I can use 90 of them to develop insights? That’s terrible. And to think … some people pay upwards of $3,000 per month for a tool that craps out 9% relevance?!

    In order for our data to be optimally effective, you have to add human analysis to it. That’s why we started CRI in the first place. There’s a gap in the mid-market brands and agencies who don’t have analysts and don’t know how to use the analytics tools properly. We think we solve that problem. 

    TA: What three tips you would give to a brand wishing to increase its digital power?

    JF: To me, it’s always been all about content. The best digital marketing case studies are always centered around great creative content. Sexy social media, email and website content is today’s 30-second spot. If you can create something that gets shared online, you’ve won half the battle. Invest in creative content.

    Next, I would remember that even though you are your own publisher these days, people aren’t necessarily coming to you for your content. Build in a paid budget to strategically target your content at the customers or audience members who are most likely to want what it is you’re selling. The Internet is not a place where if you build it they will come. It’s a place where if you build it, then promote the crap out of it, they might come. 

    Finally, just be there for your customers. Respond. Engage. Like and comment on their stuff, too. The more friend-like you can be to them, the more friend-like they’ll be to you and the more top of mind you’ll be when they’re ready to buy something you sell.

    TA: Any, what not to do’s?

    JF: Don’t lie. Don’t hide. And whatever you do, don’t mess with Wendy’s. Heh.

    TA: Can you name any cool new social media apps that are worth considering, or overlooked, especially for those who may not have a Fortune 500 budget?

    JF: There are dozens, aren’t there? I’ve recently checked out Mentionlytics, a social listening platform out of Greece that runs $29 per month. I also like Zoomph, but it’s a little more expensive. And then there’s niche stuff like LinkInProfile.com which is a solution for people who want to add links to their posts on Instagram. Instead of changing out your profile link with every post or product picture, you can keep the link in your profile the same and send them to a landing page where your latest posts are categorized with the images and links you wanted to post in Instagram but couldn’t. So there’s always something new out there to play with. 

    TA: Finally, where do you get your inspiration? What individuals or sources do you look to?

    JF: Straight heroin. Kidding. I read a lot of industry blogs and publications to stay up to speed on what’s trending and what-not. Christopher Penn always educates me. I read Jay Baer and Mark Schaefer. Valeria Maltoni makes me smarter. But I really get most of my inspiration from my kids. Grant (11) and Katie (8) make me want to work hard and be a better man every day. My only real goal in life is not to fail them. 

    Thanks for reading. What do YOU think?

    @TomHCAnderson

    PS. Who would you like hear from next? Send me your suggestions for NGMR interviews!

     

    TomHCAnderson Next Gen Marketing Research

    About Tom H. C. Anderson

    Tom H. C. Anderson is the founder and managing partner of OdinText, a venture-backed firm based in Stamford, CT whose patented SAS platform is used by Fortune 500 companies like Disney, Coca-Cola and Shell Oil to mine insights from complex, unstructured and mixed data. A recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research, Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as CASRO, ESOMAR and the ARF. He was named one of the “Four under 40” market research leaders by the American Marketing Association in 2010. He is also founder and moderator of Next Gen Market Research (NGMR), a professional networking group for consumer insights practitioners, as well as the editor of the NGMR blog. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

  • 25 Apr 2017 12:51 PM | Mark Michelson

    Full Story

    Nicole NguyenBuzzFeed News Reporter

    When you sign up for a free online service, you’re usually giving up your personal info in return. Here’s how to find out just how egregious that data collection is.

    If there’s only one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    The New York Times recently reported that Unroll.me, an email management app that promises to de-clutter your inbox, sold its users’ anonymized Lyft receipt data to Uber. Unroll.me claims that it’s “trusted by millions of happy users” — but it’s likely that those users weren’t aware that they were forking over their personal emails to Slice Intelligence, a digital commerce analytics company. Now, some users are pledging to remove their inbox accessfrom Unroll.me and delete their accounts.

    The Unroll.me/Uber fury is a good reminder of the ol’ Internet adage, “if you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”

    But some sites are much more egregious than others. So here are some ways you can assess an app’s trustworthiness and find out if your free faves are problematic.

    What does “you’re the product” even mean?

    When you sign up for a free online service, you’re most likely giving up something in return: your data. On sites like Facebook and Google, that means the service uses your personal information (like your interests, location, gender, marital status, or age) to show you advertisements they think you’d be interested in. Last year, Facebook made more than $26 billion from advertising.

    For many people, this sounds like a good trade off: You get to use something legitimately useful, like Gmail, for free, and the most visible consequence is an advertisement. But other companies go much farther. Unroll.me, for example, didn’t use user data to target ads — it looked at individual emails and sent them to Uber.

    And if you found that story about Target knowing a teen girl was pregnant before her father did thanks to extensive customer data collection to be pretty creepy, you should know that that same kind of analytics-based-advertising-influence has probably been exercised on you.

    How do I know what companies are doing with my data? Is it safe?

    Be very careful about what kind of access you give apps. To do that, closely at what you’re agreeing to when you sign up.

    For example, when you sign up for Unroll.me, you’re giving the service the ability to read, send, delete, and manage your email. This is a good time to ask yourself: Does the service really need all of these permissions? Do I trust this service?

  • 30 Mar 2017 6:45 PM | Mark Michelson

    By: Hal Conick, as published in Marketing News

    Think your prospective customers are pissed? You may want to look closer; a recent study finds that the bulk of social media firestorms are retweets. 

    Nearly all tweets that make up a social media firestorm are retweets, according to a researcher at the AMA’s 2017 Winter Conference. 

    Kimberly Legocki, an adjunct professor at California State University, says 95% of social media firestorms are made up of what she calls “raging retweets.” These accounts are quick to retweet or post once, then go away entirely. 

    More active consumers during a firestorm are those who want change but do not angrily express their feelings. Legocki says these are people who are very logical and well-spoken but tend to be overlooked by brands who are inundated by angry tweets. After a specific firestorm, these accounts tweet 7.2 times on average. 

    “I worked for brands and we never paid attention to that,” she says. “It does look like a firestorm, but people go in just once or twice and then out.”

    A firestorm, she says, is related to a sense of outrage that a company has violated a social norm. 

    “When we [consumers] tweet [at] a brand, we expect them to respond within an hour,” Legocki says. “Our expectations are changing. … We know that if righteous anger triggers a response, perceived injustice will trigger righteous anger.”

    This anger, she says, is what will determine which action is taken by a consumer, including what to post, how often and when.  

    Legocki studied 10,000 tweets from four different events–including Wal-Mart selling child-size Israeli soldier costumes and McDonald’s sponsoring school nutrition programs–using indicators of anger, including expressed disgust and the word “f---.” All firestorms had similar beginnings and endings, she says, and all had the same results: mostly angry retweets. 

    “If you were really angry we expected you’d take the time and make the investment to create that original content,” she says. “We like to retweet the most salacious information, those really attention-grabbing headlines with outrageous words.”

    Key Takeaways

    What? A social media firestorm may look like a lot of very angry people, but one researcher says its 95% retweets. 

    So what? During firestorms, brands seem to ignore the level-headedconsumer who just wants a resolution. 

    Now what? Brands may want to look past the angry tweets and see what well-spoken customers are tweeting, even in the most incendiary moments of a social firestorm. 

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