The biggest social messaging apps across five key countries are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, according to OnDevice, and are becoming ‘the dominant way to stay in touch.’ Image via OnDevice
There is a race underway to be the global leader in over-the-top social messaging, and one of the latest surveys suggests Facebook, while still dominant in the U.S., is falling behind the upstart mobile players in the rest of the world.
WhatsApp is tipped as the most popular social messaging service, followed by Facebook Messenger and WeChat according to a survey of 3,759 Android and iOS smartphone users carried out by OnDevice Research, a mobile market research company. The survey questioned people who use smartphones in five key countries, U.S., Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and China, and found that 44% used WhatsApp at least once a week, while 35% used Facebook Messenger, and 28% used WeChat. 19% used Twitter. (The data was collected between Oct. 5 and Nov. 10, 2013.) Facebook could not be reached for comment.
Messaging services aren’t really about messaging anymore. They’re a new breed of social network. WeChat, LINE and Kik have become platforms for games, third-party apps and digital stickers, while on the Beijing subway you can buy a snack from special vending machines through the WeChat app. In Hong Kong you can book a restaurant table through WhatsApp, and a recent API release has led to a sprinkling of WhatsApp “share buttons” throughout the mobile web, on sites including Buzzfeed. These apps are typically free save for WhatsApp, which charges an annual subscription, but the market is worth billions in potential sales, posing a risk to SMS fees for mobile carriers and ad dollars for established social networks. The mobile messaging market will be worth $16 billion in 2016, according to Informa, of which wireless carriers will take 54% of sales from SMS fees, but over-the-top (OTT) messaging services like WeChat (which now has 272 million monthly active users) and WhatsApp (350 million) will take 46%. And there are other avenues for revenue too: Japan’s LINE sold $27.4 million worth of digital stickers in the second quarter of 2013.
Read the full story via Forbes.com.
How Spotify Made Lorde A Pop Superstar
Before New Zealand pop-star Lorde was on every radio station in the U.S. and topping the Billboard Hot 100 list, she was featured on Sean Parker’s Spotify playlist–Hipster International.
Lorde (Photo by Charles Howells–Windish Agency
The Napster co-founder, former Facebook president, billionaire and early Spotify backer also runs one of the most influential playlists on the Spotify platform with 814,000 subscribers.
“I feel like in many ways she’s the antidote to disposable pop music,” Parker tells me. “I feel like it was accessible to the same people who listen to Katy Perry, for instance, but there’s obviously something more authentic and personal to Lorde’s music. I got the sense she represents the return to a singer-songwriter approach to songwriting, and yet she has a knack for writing incredibly infectious melodies.”
On April 2nd, Parker added Lorde’s single “Royals” to Hipster International, a move that would help propel the then unknown sixteen-year-old to international stardom. “The moment Lorde’s “Royals” was added to Sean Parker’s popular Hipster International playlist on Spotify, we saw an immediate reaction around the world,” Jason Flom, the head of Lava Records, who signed Lorde this spring, said in an email. “Six days later, “Royals” debuted on the Spotify Viral Chart. The plays just kept growing as word of the track spread across their network…It was the first spark that lit the blaze of attention and activity that culminated in Lorde’s incredible album debut.”
Lorde continued to jump on Spotify’s Viral Chart, cozying up with superstars like Katy Perry, Drake and Lady Gaga. Steve Savoca, the head of content at Spotify, took notice quickly. “It translated into this social phenomenon,” says Savoca, who previously worked in digital marketing and business development for music labels like Sony and Warner. “The users felt they discovered something really exciting and they wanted to express it. They shared the track with friends on Spotify, Facebook and Twitter… it spread like wildfire.”
Savoca and his Spotify team began promoting Lorde throughout the platform and featured her on the Spotify homepage. By May Lorde was already number one on Spotify’s Viral Chart–it wasn’t until June that traditional radio began to play “Royals.” Fast forward to today, Lorde’s music has been streamed 100 million times on Spotify (not to mention 92 million views just for “Royals” on Youtube) and is number one on the Billboard Hot 100, beating out the likes of Eminem and Miley Cyrus. The foundation help Lorde’s first album “Pure Heroine” debut on Spotify at number one this fall with more than six-million plays in its first week.
It’s a big win for Lorde, and for Spotify. Founder Daniel Ek, the most important man in music today, started the music platform seven years ago believing that Spotify’s huge on-demand catalog combined with big data and social sharing could offer users (and artists) something better than piracy. Lorde’s success demonstrates the power of those features. And in a time when artists like the Black Keys and Radiohead gripe that Spotify’s royalty payment system is unfair to artists, the Lorde experience shows that through Spotify’s platform an unknown New Zealand teenager can sometimes compete with the likes of Lady Gaga in the fame game.
Join the Black Public Relations Society, Washington, DC; Capital Press Club and WABJ as we host the 2013 Holiday Social: “Rock the Bells”, Dec. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Public Bar located at 1214B 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Tickets are $20 in advance for members and $25 for non-members. Event tickets will include one drink ticket and access to buffet of hors d’oeuvres. Join today and gain free access to this event! Advanced RSVP closes on Tuesday, December 10, at noon. Register today here!
For questions about this event, please contact Faye Hyslop, VP Programming at email@example.com. Don’t know if your membership is active? Contact BPRSDC at firstname.lastname@example.org. To view highlights and additional photos from this and other events, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Here’s our pick of the social media setbacks…
1. JP Morgan “Snarkpocalypse”
Wall Street bank JP Morgan was at the centre of a social media storm earlier this month when it invited Twitter users to send questions to an executive using the hashtag #AskJPM.
The Twitterverse responded with a storm of abuse. More than 8,000 responses were sent within a six-hour period, according to social media tracking service Topsy.
Two out of every three comments sent were negative.
The original idea behind the tweet-up was to give students the opportunity to communicate directly with Jimmy Lee, one of JP Morgan’s most senior bankers and a key executive on the Twitter share sale.
The live Q&A was due to take place on November 14th but on the previous afternoon, the company tweeted: “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.”
The bank has been in the spotlight this year over its $13bn settlement for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities and the $6bn London Whale trading losses.
Abusive tweets included: “Quick! You’re in a room with no key, a chair, two paper clips, and a lightbulb. How do you defraud investors?” and “What’s your favourite type of whale? #AskJPM”.
2. British Gatastrophe
JP Morgan is not alone in attracting the ire of social media users through an ill-advised online Q&A.
In October, British Gas decided to hold a tweet-up on the same day as it announced price rises of 10pc, prompting a huge social media backlash.
Its #AskBG campaign, manned by Bert Pijls, the company’s customer service director, was hijacked by users asking questions like, “My office has a window where the sun comes in and makes the side of my head really hot. How much do I owe you?”
3. Home Depot
When Home Depot tweeted the image below to its 165,000 or so users in November, the US-based DIY store received hundreds of tweets accusing the chain of racism.
Home Depot tried to calm the wrathful Twittersphere with a series of apology tweets: “We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive. Deeply sorry. We terminated agency and individual who posted it” but the image was retweeted thousands of times nonetheless.
4. Mayday for British Airways
The rise of social media has created a new way for consumers to taunt corporate brands: complaintvertising. This is the method of buying prominent advertising space on Twitter or Facebook to air a grievance.
British Airways found out about this new trend the hard way earlier this year, when Hasan Syed used Twitter’s self-service ad platform to post a promoted tweet, which read: “Don’t fly @British_Airways. Their customer service is horrendous.”
Mr Syed, a hair-care entrepreneur based in Chicago, had flown business class on the airline with his father on a trip to Paris. When BA lost his father’s luggage and failed to respond to his complaint on Twitter, he took matters into his own hands.
Mr Syed spent over $1,000 on his smear campaign and his angry tweets were seen by more than 50,000 Twitter users in the UK and New York markets where his promoted tweet ran.
5. Twitter shouts itself hoarse at Tesco
The UK’s leading supermarket failed to update its auto-tweets when it was embroiled in the horse meat scandal earlier this year. It sent out a pre-scheduled tweet, which read: “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay. See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets.”
Thousands of users complained about the tweet and @UKTesco later responded: “I’m terribly sorry. That tweet was scheduled before we knew of the current situation. We’d never intend to make light of it.”
The following day, Tesco placed full-page adverts in several national newspapers to apologise for the “unacceptable” situation, vowing to ensure it “never happens again”.
6. McDonald’s cautionary tale
McDonald’s sponsored the hashtag #McDStories in January 2012, asking users to tweet in about positive dining experiences at its restaurants. Instead, respondents joked about obesity and dog food.
The burger company pulled the campaign within two hours but users were still tweeting the abandoned hashtag a week after it was removed.
7. Counterfeit Burger King
In February, the popular burger franchise fell foul to some hacktivists who changed Burger King’s account name to McDonald’s and added a new bio that stated, “Just got sold to McDonalds because the whopper flopped =[ FREEDOM IS FAILURE.”
“Look for McDonald’s in a hood near you!”
This was followed by a string of fake tweets containing racial slurs, obscenities and references to drugs.
McDonald’s drew further attention to the plight of its rival by tweeting: “We empathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”
8. Qantas Bashtag
British Airways isn’t the only airline to nosedive in the social media stakes. In 2011, Qantas Airways asked customers to write in about their dream in-flight experiences using the hashtag #QantasLuxury. Instead of being sent wistful flights of fancy, the airline received a deluge of negative posts, mostly concerning the carrier’s industrial disputes with three unions, which resulted in the grounding of the entire Qantas fleet on October 29.
Qantas is a serial offender on the social media slip-up list. It once ran a Rugby Union competition that asked Wallabies fans to paint their faces black to win a prize.
9. Disobeying His Master’s Voice
In January this year, a social media exec for music chain HMV tweeted the mass firing of 190 staff live from HMV’s proprietary account. The first tweet announced: “We’re tweeting live from HR where we’re all being fired! Exciting!!!”, follwed by: “There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand.”
Unfortunately for HMV, even its inability to lock the outgoing staff out of the social network was broadcast to the masses. The rogue @hmvtweets tweeter wrote: “Just overheard our Marketing Director (he’s staying, folks!) ask ‘How do I shut down Twitter?’”
10. Amy’s Baking Company gets burnt
Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, was featured in an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, which aired on May 10th, 2013. It was the first time Mr Ramsay had walked off the show.
The episode prompted a surge of negative feedback on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The two owners Samy and Amy Bouzaglo reacted by posting a rant against the “haters” who were crippling their business. The social media storm spilled out onto Reddit and Yelp, with the Bouzaglos responding to disgruntled users using foul language and all-caps.
There were nearly 1,000 comments posted to Reddit before the thread was removed and commenting was disabled.
Love it or hate it, Twitter’s updated interface is here to stay. Now dotting (if you’re lucky and don’t follow photoholics) streams full of 140-character updates, users will see images in their feed without having to click links that redirect to Twitpic, Instagram, and other photo platforms. It’s a strategy Twitter’s touting as an easy way for users to engage instantly with visual content. On the eve of its IPO, Twitter’s also hoping will help drive additional revenue from ad sales –a move that some contend actually diminishes users’ control over their social selves.
But this new photo-laden feed can also be a powerful tool for savvy retailers who currently use social media to drive e-commerce sales, according to David Chang, managing director and senior vice president at Acquity Group. He tells FORBES: “The new Twitter design presents a great opportunity for brands and retailers to reach customers with timely and rich, yet concise content. It will take time for some users to adapt to the new visual elements, however pictures and short video (i.e. 6-second Vine videos) can convey an incredible amount of information quickly—which is the spirit of Twitter communication.”
Chang has the data to back this up. He says that in a recent study by Acquity Group 17% of consumers have purchased from social media, and nearly 1 in 3 smartphone owners are willing to do so, but haven’t yet. “There’s a huge market of opportunity that hasn’t yet been tapped,” he says. The data collected in the study was across social media channels including Pinterest, Twitter, Fancy, Facebook, among others, but did not drill down to specifically to which channels smartphone owners had purchased most on, he says.
Here’s what Chang told us about how retailers can best leverage this new opportunity:
What does the new design mean for retailers?
From an advertising perspective, retailers are capitalizing on native ads on social networks to get a greater return on their ad spend. Acquity Group’s retail clients see an average click-through rate of 4.71% on ads in the Facebook Newsfeed (as compared to .03% on “traditional” Facebook display ads). We anticipate Twitter to soon enable visual ads in their feed as well and would expect similarly strong results—so long as the ads are timely and contextually relevant.
What should retailers keep in mind especially since so many users are complaining of seeing the images in their feed?
Brands should be respectful of this and ensure their posts are timely and contextually relevant, and not abuse these features especially during this user adoption period (think Facebook and the “uproar” from users every time the company updates the Newsfeed and Timeline functionality). Take the opportunity to share user-generated versus promotional content to engage your followers and to avoid giving your posts an ad feel.
Read more via Forbes, here.
Anybody can sign up for a social media account and understand its general premise. Does that make you capable of using it for business? Like anything in business, social media (done right) requires extensive experience and understanding of people, some technology and — most importantly — marketing.
Primarily, social media users fail in one of two areas: understanding that social media fits into the larger part of a company’s overall marketing goals, and the ability to see correlations between activities on social media and quantifiable ROI. (Like in grade school math class, you don’t get credit if you don’t show your work.)
You — or your social media marketing ‘pro’ — might be using social media the wrong way if:
You don’t measure ROI
Utilize basic tools like Facebook FB -0.73% analytics (which is free, by the way) to understand what your customers really respond to. Notice whatever seems to help you generate more likes, clicks, and reach. Then, use tools like Google GOOG -0.58% Analytics to see how the traffic is converting on your website. If you want to get a bit more robust, try simple, yet powerful analytics tools like Simplymeasured.com. They will help you stay connected with your audience and keep them interested, as long as you can interpret them correctly.
You call yourself a ‘guru’ or something similar
Keep your titles professional, people. Using a term like ‘guru’ usually screams that you’re a refugee from another industry and don’t really know what you’re doing. Anybody who has been in the marketing industry wants to create a professional appearance. Let others call you a guru if they’d like.
You’re not working with other departments in the business
Social media marketing is most efficient and effective when it’s coordinated with your company’s branding team, email marketing team, advertising team, and other various marketing departments. For instance, your web marketing team can help drive your social media communities’ growth by linking back to your company’s social networks. Alternatively, you can gain potential leads that can convert into sales by driving traffic back to the website through content marketing. If you create original content and you work intra-departmentally, you will then be a social media rock star.
Read more via Forbes, here.
Successful social media marketing isn’t just measured by the size of a company’s fan base. Even more important than how many fans and followers your company can gain, is how many it can actually keep.
As of May 2013, 72 percent of online adults were using social networking sites, according to Pew Research Center. In addition, MBA Online reports that 8 in 10 social media users in the U.S. would rather connect with companies via social media than via corporate websites. And, social media campaigns have been shown to be more effective in generating quality leads.
By now, most small business owners understand that they can’t afford to ignore this important marketing channel. But once you’ve built up a fan base of social media followers, the often-ignored dilemma is, how do you keep them?
While some companies go as far as paying for subscribers, quality of engagement is more important than quantity of followers. “Social media users thrive on meaningful online relationships,” writes Mike Alton in Social Media Today. “Make this the focus of your social media efforts.”
A common social media mistake many small businesses make is remembering to share content, but forgetting to have the follow-up conversations that lead to real engagement, says Lori Gama, a social media marketing strategist.
Read more via Huffington Post, here.
Ohio University student Sarah Williams says she was at a Halloween party last year when she snapped a picture of someone in black face. “It angers me and it’s unacceptable,” Williams said in an interview with Colorlines.com on Monday. So she and some fellow students decided to do something about it—and they’ve captured national attention in the process.
“This is happening across the country. It’s not just here in Athens, Ohio,” says Williams, who is the president of a student group at Ohio University called Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS). The group, made up of 10 students, has created an educational campaign called “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume” that juxtaposes images like the one Williams saw last year with an actual African-American student. It adds a simple statement: “This is not who I am, and this is not okay.”
The posters have already taken social media by storm, going viral on Tumblr and Facebook pages around the country. As of Monday evening, they had been shared more than 50,000 times online, according to Williams.
Read more here.
By: Lindsay Olson, founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs
For recent grads, ghouls and goblins aren’t what cause the most fear this time of year. If you’re working your first job, there are likely several things that have surprised or even shocked you about being an employee.
1. Your paycheck is shriekingly shrunken. You’re not the first recent grad to be horrified at how much taxes eat up your paycheck. You may have been excited about what you were offered as your salary and thought you would be bringing home more than you are. Now you’re wondering how you will be able to pay your phone bill.
Here’s an illustration: If you make $35,000 in Arizona and are filing as single on your taxes, you’d take home $1,346 every two weeks and pay just over $300 in Social Security and federal and state tax. That doesn’t take into account any 401(k) or health insurance costs you may also have to pay for.
2. You don’t always get to leave at 5:00. Your idea of work is coming in at 9 a.m. (or a few minutes late) and leaving at 5 p.m. on the dot. Unfortunately, your new boss has other ideas. You frequently end up staying late to finish up, and all you want to do is whine about it.
For many career paths, there is an unspoken expectation to put in additional hours regularly. If you feel that you’re being taken advantage of, however, talk to your boss about expectations and see if you can cut back on the overtime.
3. Your job description has grown since you were hired. Just like a ghost, extra assignments keep appearing out of thin air. You’re indignant. After all, you were hired to do a specific set of tasks, not be the office workhorse.
Again, think before you complain. If you take on additional assignments willingly, people will notice, and you’ll be rewarded down the road. It’s a résumé booster and possibly the key to getting to work on more interesting and high-profile assignments within your company.
4. The office is spookily similar to school. Thought you’d gotten away from those annoying school cliques, did you? The office is a social landscape, just like school, only with better-dressed players. You’ve probably observed the Lazy Losers, who always try to pawn off their work, the Go Get ‘Em Ghouls, who are professional brown nosers, and the Manipulative Monsters, who try to have their way at all times.
It’s easy to get caught up in the drama but in the long term, staying centered and not focusing on the gossip will increase your productivity and gain the respect of your colleagues and superiors.
5. Gray areas are everywhere. You read the employee handbook cover to cover the minute you were hired. You know that office relationships, open-toed shoes and latecomers are strictly forbidden, and yet you see signs of violations of these rules all over the place.
Every company culture is different. Some adhere to the rules more strictly, while others are more lax. Follow suit to what others are doing, and if you’re not sure if it’s OK to bend the written rules, ask someone.
6. Not a lot of work gets done. Your cubicle buddy takes 10 coffee breaks each day. Most of your co-workers take two-hour lunches. Your office probably isn’t the pit of productivity you envisioned. That makes it easy for you to shine! Minimize your trips to the office cooler and focus on your work, and you’ll have a case for your first raise when employee review time comes around.
7. The secret romances aren’t so secret. Despite that rule on page 72 of the employee handbook, you see co-workers sneaking into the copy room for a quick smooch. You’ve been warned against the dangers of interoffice romances, and can’t understand why these couples would jeopardize their work relationships in this way.
8. Your boss is the worst manager in the world. So much for people getting ahead based on their own merit. Your boss may be a slavering spook, unable to manage himself, let alone a team. While it’s certainly no picnic to work for a maniacal boss, it’s actually an excellent lesson in your career. You’ll have to work for and with all manner of people, so adjusting to different personalities and temperaments can help you acclimate to a new work environment.
9. You think someone’s out to sabotage you. If there’s a co-worker who lusted after your job before you were hired, there might be some resentment radiating in your general direction. You may feel her hostility in meetings, and she may even go so far as to trip you up. Don’t engage. Focus on your work, and if the situation becomes severe, talk to HR to intervene.
10. They’re watching your every move. Just like the old reality show “Big Brother,” your employer may keep tabs on you. Your computer activity, your daily activity and the time you come to work and leave may be under sharp scrutiny. If you work in a professional service, you may have to log up to the minute what you are doing for your clients. Some of this tracking is to enforce company policies, and other times it essential for budgeting and billing purposes.
Courtesy of US News and World Report (link)
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.