Category Archives: Social Media

Instagram Growths Outpaces Facebook & SnapChat

eMarketer reports the average amount of time people will spend each day on Facebook this year will remain unchanged from last year at 38-minutes. That number is expected to drop to 37-minutes per day by next year. This is a downgrade from the figures eMarketer released during the third quarter of 2018.

“Facebook’s continued loss of younger adult users, along with its focus on downranking clickbait posts and videos in favor of those that create ‘time well spent,’ resulted in less daily time spent on the platform in 2018 than we had previously expected,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

Facebook and Snapchat usage hits a plateau. After dropping from 41-minutes per day in 2017 to 38-minutest per day in 2018, the average amount of time spent on Facebook has flattened for now. The average amount of time spent on Snapchat has also plateaued according to eMarketer’s forecasts, with adult users projected to spend 26-minutes per day on the app through 2021. (This is also a downgrade from the 28-minutes per day eMarketer originally estimated for Snapchat’s 2019 usage.)

It’s worth noting eMarketer’s numbers are based on users age 18-years and older — meanwhile, Snapchat says it now reaches 90% of all 13 to 24-year-olds and in the U.S. There’s an entire group of users — 13- to 17-year-olds — that eMarketer isn’t including in its data.

Instagram’s expected growth. eMarketer predicts Instagram users will spend an average 27-minutes per day on the app, up a minute from last year. This number will keep growing a minute per year through 2021, according to the research firm. Even with that growth, the average amount of time on Instagram will still lag at least eight-minutes behind the average amount of time users are expected to spend on Facebook two years from now.

Why we should care. Overall, eMarketer reports the average amount of time people spent per day on social networks in the U.S. dropped by nearly 1.5 minutes last year, a number that will remain “virtually” unchanged this year according to eMarketer’s forecasts.

“Gains in digital video viewing are putting pressure on social time,” said Williamson, “And gaming is also creating new competition for user attention.” Williamson said eMarketer cannot confirm if there is a direct cause-effect relationship between the growth in these activities and social media usage, but there does appear to be a threat in terms of user engagement among the channels.

These estimates most likely will have little immediate impact on ad campaign budgeting or results. Social media usage may be flattening, but people are still showing up. And while Facebook growth looks to be flat, the average amount of time users are spending on the site still outperforms the average amount of time users are on Instagram.

For marketers targeting a younger demographic, eMarketer’s report offers little guidance as it is not tracking usage by anyone younger than 18-years old.



Facebook contractors categorize your private posts to train AI

The practice raises a few privacy concerns.

At any given time, Facebook has thousands of third-party staffers around the world looking at and labeling Facebook and Instagram posts. The work is meant to help train AI and to inform new products. But because the contractors see users’ public and private posts, some view it as a violation of privacy.

According to Reuters, as many as 260 contract workers in Hyderabad, India have spent more than a year labeling millions of Facebook posts dating back to 2014. They look for the subject of the post, the occasion and the author’s intent, and Facebook told Reuters, the company uses that information to develop new features and to potentially increase usage and ad revenue.

Around the globe, Facebook has as many as 200 similar content labeling projects, many of which are used to train the company’s AI. As Reuterspoints out, that’s not uncommon. Many companies hire staff for “data annotation” — like helping AI identify traffic lights or pedestrians in videos.

But that probably won’t make Facebook users feel any better. The contractors working in Hyderabad told Reuters they see everything from text-based status updates to videos, photos and Stories across Facebook and Instagram — including those that are shared privately. And even as Facebook embarks on its “the future is private” platform, one Facebook employee told Reuters he can’t imagine the practice going away. It’s a core part of training AI and developing the company’s products.

Instagram test visualizes hiding ‘Like’ counts from viewers

This photo of an egg published on the social network Instagram via the account ‘world_record_egg’ became, over ten days, the most liked photo in the world with more than 33 million ‘likes’, which makes it the the most ‘liked’ image in the history of the social network.

Everyone has their own opinion about what specifically is wrong with social media, but the currency of likes is a commonly-cited issue. The latest grab bag of Instagram test features dug up by Jane Manchun Wongincludes a version that doesn’t let the audience see how many likes a post gets. The person who posted it still does, but as the app describes it, “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who share a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”

Maybe that would help spread out the love on social media instead of people simply liking what others like, or maybe it wouldn’t have much of an impact at all. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s an internal test the public can’t see — yet. It also didn’t hide follower counts, which more commonly measure one’s popularity, nor did it appear to impact the way posts are ranked by Instagram’s inescapable algorithmic feed. Still, at least we’d never have to hear about the ‘most-liked post ever’ ever again (even it was ultimately for a good cause).


Facebook gives you more control over what you see in your News Feed

It’s also getting more transparent about the ads you come across on the site.

Facebook has announced a new feature called “Why am I seeing this post?” which will help you better understand the content that shows up on your News Feed from friends, Pages and Groups you follow. Not only that, but this will also give you more control over what you see in the News Feed, letting you easily manage the posts you interact with on the site. The company says this is the first time it has built information on how News Feed ranking works directly into the Facebook app, noting that it is part of its efforts to be more transparent with users about how its algorithms target you.

To get access to the new tool, first reported by The Telegraph, all you have to do is click or tap the drop-down menu on the right hand corner of a post. From there, you’ll be able to view info at a glance on why you’re seeing certain posts on your News Feed — e.g. because you’re a member of X Group or Page on Facebook — as well as manage the content you’d like to see more or less of. You’ll get shortcuts to controls to help you further personalize your News Feed too, including See First, Unfollow, News Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts.

Facebook says that during its research for the “Why am I seeing this post” feature, which is available starting today, it learned that people wanted more than transparency on its News Feed algorithms. They wanted more control, and that’s why it decided to roll out the tools to make it simpler for users to manage the posts they see on their feed.

In addition to these changes, Facebook is updating its “Why am I seeing this ad?” tool to make it even more transparent than before. Now, on top of showing you factors like basic demographics or interests that may have contributed to an ad you came across on the site, Facebook will let you know when information on an advertiser’s list matches your profile. What’s more, Facebook is providing details if an advertiser uploaded your personal data to its database, such as email and phone number, or whether it worked with another marketing partner to try to target you with an ad.

“Both of these updates are part of our ongoing investment in giving people more context and control across Facebook,” the company said in a blog post. “We will continue to listen to your feedback and evolve these features over time.”

At a time when Facebook is under heavy scrutiny by the public and governments, it needs to be as transparent as possible with users. The new features certainly don’t solve all of its problems, but at least they’re a step in the right direction.

Source: Engaget & Facebook

The Difference Between a Social Media Manager and a Community Manager

A lot of people get confused when talking about social media management and community management. So we asked the question: What is the difference between a social media manager and a community manager?

Social Media Manager vs Community Manager
For smaller companies, one person may take on both roles; but in general, the two jobs are very different. Social media managers basically act as the brand while community managers represent and advocate for the brand with their own voice and via their own social presence.

Social Media Manager: The SMM’s job is to BE the brand on social. They develop a social strategy for the business and execute from every angle. They act as the brand in every sense; they create, curate and schedule content that best reflects their brand voice. They manage campaigns and report on social analytics. They also monitor conversations on social accounts and engage with their audience under the mask of the brand.

Community Manager: The CM’s job is essentially to act as a spokesman for a brand and use their own voice to build a loyal community. This can be either on their own social accounts or by using the brand’s social account but announcing they are “taking over” for a period of time. Their job is much more customer-focused. They connect with their followers, stimulate conversations, make customers feel valued and try to spread brand awareness outside of that group.

Thanks for stopping by, hope this was helpful!

How to Create a Social Media Content Strategy

Content is the heart of any social media strategy – neglecting to create valuable and engaging social media content will leave you extremely frustrated with your results.

And while creating a social media content strategy isn’t rocket science, many brands miss the mark, and fail to deliver on what users are seeking from companies when engaging on social channels. To create a social media content strategy, brands absolutely need to create content that users want to consume.

So, what do consumers want from brands on social media? A recent study has interesting findings:

72% of consumers want discounts or sales
60% of consumers want posts that showcase new products/services
59% of consumers want posts that inform
56% of consumers want posts that entertain
49% of consumers want posts that inspire
41% of consumers want posts about company happenings

By understanding what users want to see in their feeds, brands can create more effective content strategies, which will help to maximize your social media success and business impact.

When building out a content strategy, we recommend approaching it in three defined phases: ‘Planning’, ‘Publishing’ and ‘Measuring’.

1. Planning
In the planning phase, brands should keep in mind what they have to offer as an entity, and present those elements through the lens of what consumers want. In short, process what makes your brand special and present that story with elements of education, entertainment inspiration and provide value.

You should always align your social media content strategy with these concepts. While it’s tempting to always talk about what you offer, be conscious that there’s much more to the conversation than just your brand.

Consider the third party sources you might want to include in your content plan, and don’t be shy to showcase like-minded (and non-competitive) branded content.

2. Publishing
Once your planning is wrapped up and you know what your overarching messaging will be, you’ll next want to draft content in an organized way.

We highly recommend employing a Social Media Content Calendar. A content calendar enables you to set a visible plan on what kind of content is going to be published and when.

When building your calendar, there are a few elements we highly recommend:

Day – This tells you which day of the week the content will be published
Date – This tells you the date the content will be published
Topic – This tells you the topic of the content piece – very useful when trying to ensure your content strategy is dynamic and diverse (it’s easy to accidentally be repetitive)
Message – This is the copy of your post – be sure to spell check
Notes – This section is where you can include reminders, hashtags or anything else that you might need to remember when it comes to publishing your content
Image – Place the link to the image that goes with your copy here. We typically use Google Drive to host these files, but you may store the images locally, which is fine. Just place that location here
Once your social media content calendar is set, you can then begin to publish. We recommend a social media management platform like Sprout Social to schedule content in advance. Very useful.

It also goes without saying, but after your content is published, you’ll want to keep an eye on engagement, and reply appropriately.

3. Measuring
Sure, Planning and Publishing might seem like the only two actual steps in a social media content strategy, however, in order to optimize your efforts, you have to also measure as much as possible.

In this phase, you’ll want to take a top-level view of your data for a set time period, in order to determine which performed the best. A key thing to keep in mind here is that different content pieces might have different objectives – for example, a meme that’s intended to entertain should be judged by engagement, whereas a post that links to a blog post should be judged by clicks.

For those new to social media measurement, here are the key performance indicators we recommend tracking when it comes to analyzing your social media content strategy:

Impressions – The amount of times people saw your content.
Engagements – The amount of reactions, comments and shares your content wins.
Clicks – The amount of times links in your content get clicked
To improve anything, in work or life, we must measure it. Measuring your social media content strategy gives you the ability to optimize against what is working well and remove content that isn’t resonating with your audience.

These are the basic, fundamental steps you need to have in place for an effective social media content strategy. There’s obviously a lot of depth to each, and you can take it as far as you need, but without some level of planning in place, you’re simply not going to maximize your social media marketing results.

5 Ways to Generate More Engagement (and Reach) on Facebook

Facebook organic reach and engagement has taken a significant hit in recent times. That’s not great news for brands looking to use the platform to generate business, but reminding yourself of some basic engagement “hacks” can be a good way to increase your Facebook traction with the fans you already have.

This is important, because nurturing your current audience will lead to more success in attracting new followers. In this post I’ll highlight a few ways to “trick” the Facebook algorithm to help generate more engagement from your fans, and therefore more reach to new audiences.

1. Try posting links in the first comment

Now, I haven’t tried this one personally, but I’ve seen other big players in the social media space use this tactic.

Here’s a little background on why this is a good idea – Facebook likes to keep people on its platform. This means that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm doesn’t particularly like posts which take people to an outside website, so any post with an off-platform link could, theoretically, be penalized, and shown to fewer people within your audience.

As an alternative approach, you could try creating a longer form caption, then letting your audience know that if they want more information they can find the link in the first comment on the post.

Again, I don’t have any definitive data on this, but it’s something to consider in your experiments.

2. Post engaging content in between website links

My second tip is a little more obvious, and really, an old-school Facebook marketing strategy – though it remains a solid one.

The first step is to get to know your audience – research similar Pages, pay attention to your analytics and understand what it is that your followers like and respond to. Then, you should look to create content which is super engaging, before you even try posting any of your own links.

This principle behind this is that since you’ve posted amazing content that your audience loves before you’ve sought to use the same to drive website traffic, the algorithm will look at your Page content more favorably, because it will know that you’re already driving significant engagement. Therefore, your posts with links will, ideally, be granted the same reach benefits.

3. Use Messenger Bots

Using chatbots and Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers and keep fans updated is one of the new hot topics in social media marketing. Connecting through Messenger gives you the opportunity to interact with people who may not like your Page (yet), and I’ve seen some really great Messenger bots which link you to different content based on your responses (I’m currently giving one a spin on my own Facebook fan page).

Messenger bots can be used for lead nurturing, retaining customers, and sharing your knowledge. Although chatbots may seem a little daunting to set up (the thought deterred me from trying for a while), there’s a range of some tools that can make this easier on you.

Within your Facebook Page messaging option, you can set up instant replies, and replies to frequently asked questions. For a more robust messenger chat bot you can try a third party service.

4. Try videos and live videos

I can’t stress the importance of incorporating videos into your social media strategy enough – it’s not so much that the News Feed Algorithm loves video necessarily, but videos are just a more popular form of content to consume.

Using tools like Adobe Spark PostQuikVideoshopBoomerang and Hyperlapse can make the process of creating quality videos for your posts easier – Facebook even has some built-in video creation tools (including the slideshow post option and video effects for boosted posts).

But the easiest way to dive into videos is by going live. Live-streaming creates a sense of urgency, while it’s also a pretty simple way to interact with your audience without needing a fancy set up.

5. Boost Posts

You might not want to hear this, but boosting posts is also a viable, and effective, way to increase your Facebook audience engagement.

The positive is that you don’t need a huge budget. Try putting some money behind posts which organically perform well. The key here is to target the right audience effectively – you can target people who follow your Page, or anyone who’s engaged with your Page in the past.

This type of targeting is efficient because you’re reaching people who are already familiar with your work, and will most likely be happy to see more from you.

Will you try these “hacks” to help you with the Facebook algorithm and get some engagement back from your current followers? Remember this year we should focus on the audience we have, and the new eyes will follow.

China cracks down on Twitter users critical of its government

It won’t surprise you to hear that China keeps a tight lid on homegrown social networks, but it’s now doing more to stifle free expression on outside networks, too. The New York Times reported that Chinese law enforcement recently began a crackdown on residents who post criticism of the government on Twitter, even though the service is officially blocked inside the country. Police have threatened action, interrogated activists for hours and detained at least one person for 15 days.

And when officials demand that tweets disappear, they don’t necessarily take “no” for an answer. When human rights campaigner Wang Aizhong refused to delete his tweets, someone hijacked his account and deleted 3,000 of his messages. While there’s no confirmation of who was responsible, Wang put the blame on government-linked hackers who insisted on silencing him.

The likely aim, as you might imagine, is to maintain the ruling party’s authority and control the country’s image. China is happy to use Twitter and other foreign social networks to promote its official point of view, but doesn’t want its residents to challenge that view on those same networks. And unfortunately, that makes life even more difficult for activists who may lose access to one of their few remaining public outlets.

Twitter will test new conversation features out in the open

Twitter is launching a new program to let users reshape how conversations on its site look and feel, the company announced today in an interview with Engadget at CES 2019. The idea is for users to try out new organization and context features with their followers, such as the status updates and “ice breaker” tweets we saw being tested last year, which are designed to encourage people to talk to each other. Twitter is set to start testing the program in the coming weeks, and while anyone will be able to apply to join, only a few thousand users are actually going to get in.

If you’re chosen to participate, Twitter is going to ask for feedback on features you’re testing and then use that to see what’s working (or isn’t) before rolling them out to everyone else. Staples like hashtags and @mentions were built by the Twitter community, and the company wants that to continue to be the case — especially as CEO Jack Dorsey has said that his main focus is to “increase the health of public conversation” on the site. Since last year, one of the ways Twitter has been trying to be more transparent is by tweeting updates on products it’s building, in an effort to get continuous feedback from users.

While Twitter already has an Experiments Program, this new one will give participants the ability to share what they are seeing openly with people on their timeline. They’ll also get to try a number of variations of experimental features and, of course, give continued feedback through the entire development process. “We want to develop a service for the people that are using it, and we have to involve people in that way,” Sara Haider, director of product management at Twitter, said on the Engadget CES 2019 stage. “We have a platform that the world uses to speak their mind, why not use that as part of our development process?”

“We have a platform that the world uses to speak their mind, why not use that as part of our development process?”

She said that, as great as Twitter is for conversations on a wide range of topics, sometimes users need to work around the product to make it work for them. A perfect example of that is when people are at an event like CES and they change their username to reflect that. That’s where having a feature like status update could come in handy, Haider said, since it can help give your followers context about what you may be tweeting about in the next week or so: “We want to turn these kinds of things into features for everyone.”

Haider also touched on Twitter threads and how those could be improved through visual flourishes, including indentations and collapsing replies to only highlight the ones you’re interested in. If you’ve ever come across a popular tweet, you know how messy it can get to keep up with a conversation. Twitter is aware that’s something it can improve on and, with the upcoming beta program, you may have a chance to shape how those features work on the site.

“We’re making some pretty big changes to the way conversations look and feel on Twitter, and we don’t want to just unveil that one day and what if you don’t like it or it’s not working for you?,” said Haider. “We really want to bring our community along for this journey and be a part of this. We want to this kind of thing more often.”

Of course, not every conversation on Twitter is exactly positive, but Haider said that safe and healthy interactions are the company’s number one priority.” The investments and thinking we do around health,” she said, “permeate into all of our product decision-making and how we think about what products we are building.” As far as those editable tweets people keep asking about, Haider said she has nothing to say about that right now, only that Twitter “is always working on ways to make the experience better.”

Tumblr will start blocking adult content on December 17th

Tumblr has announced that it will no longer allow adult content beginning December 17th. The site, which is owned by Engadget’s parent company, says that content includes “photos, videos or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples and any content — including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations — that depicts sex acts.” The move comes just after Tumblr’s app was removed from the App Store, reportedly because of images of child sexual abuse that made their way onto the site.

In a statement, Tumblr said at the time that while it scans every uploaded image against a database of known child sexual abuse material, images that hadn’t yet been included in the database were found on its site. It removed the content and reiterated that it had a “zero tolerance policy” against that type of material. But during that same time, Tumblr was also reportedly removing other posts featuring adult content, which some people believed to be a response to the App Store removal.

“As Tumblr continues to grow and evolve, and our understanding of our impact on our world becomes clearer, we have a responsibility to consider that impact across different age groups, demographics, cultures and mindsets,” the company said in a statement about its decision to ban adult content. “We spent considerable time weighing the pros and cons of expression in the community that includes adult content. In doing so, it became clear that without this content we have the opportunity to create a place where more people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”

Some content will still be allowed under the new rules, including breasts in the context of breastfeeding, birth and health-related situations, as well as erotica, nudity related to a newsworthy event and nudity in art. Those whose posts have been flagged as having adult content will be notified, and they’ll be able to appeal Tumblr’s decision. Adult content posts will be reverted to a private setting.

“We’re relying on automated tools to identify adult content and humans to help train and keep our systems in check,” said Tumblr. “We know there will be mistakes, but we’ve done our best to create and enforce a policy that acknowledges the breadth of expression we see in the community.” The company added that it plans to be “as transparent as possible” with its users regarding any decisions it makes going forward.

In 2016, Indonesia banned Tumblr for hosting pornographic content, and last year the company introduced a safe mode that allows users to hide sensitive material from view.



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