2014 Social Media Trends: Part 2 of 5

In part two of five in our series of predicted social media trends for 2014, we discuss the future of Twitter. Here at BIGfish, we love Twitter. It’s a versatile platform that quickly adapts to social trends and provides great opportunities for marketers. Between capitalizing on advertisements, tapping into video and visual content with Vine and expanded photos, navigating the murky waters of second screen apps, and a successful IPO, Twitter seems to be taking full advantage of all the right opportunities. Read on to find out why we predict Twitter will increase in popularity and importance in 2014.

Ads Essential to Twitter’s Growth

While Twitter is newer to the advertising game than Facebook, Adobe’s most recent Social Intelligence Report found that Twitter drives more shoppers to online commercial sites than Facebook does. The same study also states that Twitter experienced a 258% increase in click-throughs from September 2012 to September 2013, and its revenue per visitor increased 300% in the same period, outpacing its competitors. Now that $TWTR is a public company, generating ad revenue is vital; according to CNN Money, “Twitter’s business model revolves around ads.” Although Twitter raised about $1.8 billion through the sale of 70 million shares during its IPO, the company has yet to turn a profit. While the lack of profit isn’t too encouraging, we think the increase in ROI on Twitter ads will drive more marketers to purchase them, creating more revenue for Twitter in 2014.

Second Screen

Twitter and TV are becoming increasingly integrated. “There’s a huge opportunity for Twitter as a second screen for television, especially for events like [TV series] premieres, the Grammys and the Super Bowl, when everyone’s tweeting,” BIGfish president David Gerzof Richard recently told the Boston Herald. Many shows encourage online conversation or voting on Twitter in realtime with the use of a designated hashtag. In addition, Nielsen announced “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” in December 2012. The rating measures the number of users tweeting about specific TV programs, the number of unique tweets per program, and the number of users viewing those tweets, which further solidifies the growing importance of social TV.

Since 40% of U.S. tablet and smartphone users visit a social network while watching TV, and “the number of people tweeting about TV was 19 million in the second quarter, up 24% over the year-earlier period,” it’s no wonder Twitter and Nielsen partnered. Statistics from Twitter TV Ratings can be impressive. For example, 9.3 million unique users saw tweets about the series finale of “Breaking Bad,” making it No. 1 in the Twitter TV Ratings for the week of Sept. 23.

More recently, Twitter partnered with Comcast to create the “See It” program that converts Twitter into a social remote control. With “See It,” Comcast customers can access NBC TV shows, movies and sporting events directly from a tweet. By clicking on the “See It” button, eligible users can then click

through to watch the program live on their computer or mobile device, set their DVR to record it or “queue [the program] up through Comcast’s on-demand feature on their set-top boxes.”

 see-it-comcast

NBCUniversal is also expanding this concept to their movie ticketing app Fandango, enabling users to purchase movie tickets on Twitter via the same “See It” button.

So, how can marketers take advantage of all this?

While large corporations like NBCUniversal, Comcast and Nielsen are making bold moves to become involved in the second screen revolution, Twitter is also making it easier for smaller businesses and brands to tap into online conversations about TV.

We recently received an email from Twitter that said ”starting today, you can more easily tap into, and be part of conversations with people on Twitter talking about specific TV shows, by using TV conversation targeting,” and Twitter’s conversation mapping technology. The email outlined several ways brands already used this tool during beta testing:

“In initial beta testing, we’ve seen advertisers use TV conversation targeting in a number of different ways, to build upon their TV strategies, whether is to extend regional TV spots, add reach to their national buys, or to take advantage of non-traditional TV integrations.  Additionally, brands are using TV conversation targeting around live airings of TV shows to promote content that builds upon the on-air storylines.”

While this may not be for every brand, finding connections between your brand and popular TV shows could be another way to actively engage with customers. For example, for our client Iceland Naturally, we’ll keep an eye on “Game of Thrones,” which is partially filmed in Iceland, and look for opportunities to build on that conversation. The popular HBO show averaged 14 million viewers per episode last season and presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with Twitter’s TV tools.

Get ahead of the crowd

Given Twitter’s recent growth and success, we recommend getting your brand on Twitter (if it isn’t already) and investing time and money into this platform. While Twitter itself is a great way to connect with consumers and monitor conversations about your brand, Twitter ads are a cost-effective way to drive traffic and sales. We suggest pairing the new TV conversation targeting with Twitter ads during TV shows to see how your brand can become part of the conversation. Once you’ve run a few ads, analyze your results and see if this something worth pursuing further. We predict that most brands will be taking advantage of Twitter as as second screen by the end of 2014, so now’s your chance to get ahead of the crowd. Start looking for TV shows relevant to your brand, fine-tune your Twitter ad skills and engage with consumers before your competitors do!

What do you think?

Do you currently use Twitter in interesting or unique ways? What do you think about Twitter as a second screen app? Do you already keep track of the most popular shows on Twitter?

Brigid Gorham

2014 Social Media Trends: Part 1 of 5

As 2014 approaches, the BIGfish team is looking ahead to plan for next year’s social media campaigns. From our experience with social media clients and through some additional research, we’re predicting five social media trends for 2014. Each week we’ll post a new trend on our blog and offer suggestions on how you can incorporate it into your social profiles.

Part 1: A Picture is Worth 1000 Likes, Comments, Shares & Retweets

The popularity of photos has steadily increased over the past few months and we expect this trend to really take off in 2014, forcing existing platforms to adapt to visual content (ahem, Twitter), and allowing for new image-focused networks to form. Below we’ve outlined a few reasons why this trend is important and how you can take advantage of it.

Always attach a photo to Facebook posts (and usually Tweets). According to KISSmetrics, Facebook posts with photos get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than those without. As a result, our social media client Iceland Naturally’s posts reached an average of 10,000 people per post last month. We’ve also discovered the popularity of photo albums, with the most recent album reaching 18,720 people.

Iceland-Naturally-Facebook-Photo

Twitter recently updated its timeline format to automatically expand photos. We tweeted a few photos from Iceland Naturally’s account and saw immediate results. This post received 32 retweets, 17 favorites and a positive reply (and counting) whereas the following post without an image received zero interaction.

Consider joining an image-based platform. Image-based platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr have also benefited from this trend. The value of a Pin on Pinterest, which can drive both pageviews and sales, increased 25% this past year. On average, a Pin garners 2 site visits, 6 pageviews and 10 repins. Instagram has also benefited from photo-loving web users and now boasts more than 150 million users, 16 billion photos shared and 1 billion likes per day. Tumblr blogs, especially popular among the elusive 18-24 demographic, heavily rely on visual content and the site received more than 350 million visits last month.

While a presence on every social media platform isn’t necessary, now might be a good time to consider joining Pinterest, Instagram and/or Tumblr. Each of these platforms has a massive and somewhat unique user base, offering the opportunity to engage with new consumers and increase overall reach. If you do decide to join one of these networks, be prepared to commit some time to building your fan base and having a stock of photos on hand so you can update consistently. We also suggest keeping an eye on Instagram ads. Although they’re not available to everyone just yet, we believe they have potential for great influence and results.

Find interesting visual content. While it’s easy to post photos of Iceland’s unique, beautiful landscape, finding appropriate visual content can be more difficult for other brands. While high quality, high resolution photos are recommended, sometimes it’s a personal touch of a photo that instead attracts attention. For small business, we suggest posting photos of employees, company events, your office and any other interesting or fun office-happenings. Larger brands should invest in high quality photos of and might want to take a look at the top brands on Instagram for some creative inspiration. For our client Iceland Naturally, we hold a monthly cover photo contest where we encourage fans to submit photos of Iceland. We then choose one as our cover photo for the month, credit the photographer, and create a photo album with all photo entries. This is a great way to both engage your audience and outsource some photos. Aside from helping increase engagement online, this will also help humanize your company’s presence on social media, which can improve your relationship with followers and fans and increase interaction and engagement.

Still, all photos don’t have to be centered around your company or brand. For example, the BIGfish Pinterest account has a board titled “Big fish… literally” where we post photos of, you guessed it, big fish. We also have boards for favorite local restaurants and photos of our home in Brookline Village. Users don’t want to be inundated with information solely about you, so get creative with some of your posts and have some fun with it! Test out different categories and research what other companies in your industry are doing well. As always, study any analytics you have available to learn about your followers and create content accordingly. Finally, never be afraid to just ask your fans what they like and want to see more of!

What do you think? Do you know of any other applications for visual content on social media? Have you experienced similar results by posting photos to Facebook and Twitter?

Make sure to check back in next week to see what our next 2014 social media trend prediction is!
Brigid Gorham

Insta-ads: A Different Approach

When Instagram announced the introduction of advertisements, the social media world collectively shook its head in frustration. However, when Instagram introduced its example of an Insta-ad, I found it interesting. I like that Instagram chose to share this information on its own platform, instead of just in an email with a link to lengthy terms and conditions that no one will ever read. The description under the sample ad clearly and concisely explains the company’s plans for the future of advertising. “If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right,” Instagram wrote. “We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.”

http://instagram.com/p/f3HLODBQdH/

In the example ad, Instagram also addressed a previous controversy, stating “As always, you own your own photos and videos. The introduction of advertising won’t change this.” Personally, I appreciated the transparency and the time they took to share this information in a format that made sense.

As a marketing professional, one of my first questions was: how will they target users? Instagram states that advertisers will target people using data from both Instagram (who you like and follow) and its parent company, Facebook (your interests and other basic info). Insta-ads will show up “from time to time whether or not” you have a Facebook account. Right now, Instagram only allows ads from ten brands that have already built up substantial Instagram followings organically.

The very first paid ad (below), created by designer Michael Kors, was released last week.

View this post on Instagram

5:15 PM: Pampered in Paris #MKTimeless

A post shared by Michael Kors (@michaelkors) on


The Michael Kors ad, like all Instagram ads to come, shows up in your feed labeled as “sponsored” and enables you to “hide” ads you don’t find interesting and give feedback about about what you didn’t like about it.

sponsored-post-instagram

The Michael Kors ad garnered nearly 300,000 Likes and more than 1,700 comments in three days. The Next Web cited a study by Nitrogram that states Michael Kors gained nearly 30,000 followers as a result of their Insta-ad. The same study points out that after four days the “ad generated 370 percent more ‘likes’ than the average of Michael Kors’ last 5 posts, with an estimated 6.15 million users viewing it.” The study draws another interesting conclusion: the ad was “displayed in-feed and only once, unlike what we’re used to on other networks.”

This specific ad is unique in that it was unveiled as the first of its kind. With several major news outlets covering the story and linking to the ad, an incredible amount of traffic was driven to this one image. For that same reason, the feedback includes mostly negative comments directed at Instagram, often disregarding the Michael Kors brand altogether.

As HubSpot mentions, this trial period is the perfect time for other brands to watch and analyze Instagram ads to see what’s most effective. Here at BIGfish we’re keeping a close eye on Insta-ads to determine whether or not we want to use them for some of our clients. Right now, the Nitrogram study is really the only source of data and analytics on the Michael Kors ad. At BIGfish we know that results and analytics are essential to every marketing campaign, so we’re also wondering if and when Instagram will introduce its own measurement tools. With Facebook as their parent company, will they offer “Instagram Insights”?

It’ll also be interesting to see what the first Instagram video ad (aka commercial) is like. I think it might be more difficult for brands to create a successful video ad on Instagram since it’s so easy to simply scroll right by it and not even notice it’s a video (or scroll past knowing what it is). Will analytics on Instagram video ads differ from the photos? Will we be able to see how long users watched the video? Finding the “sweet spot” of an Instagram video ad will be crucial.

Even though the Michael Kors ad didn’t show up in my feed, I think it’s high quality, beautiful and appropriate for the platform. I’m interested to see the success and effectiveness of future ads that don’t carry the headline of “first-ever instagram ad revealed!” If brands put out creative, meaningful ads and target them properly, I think  they’ll be incredibly effective. It’s interesting that Instagram is forcing companies to be creative and I think this will help maintain the platform’s integrity. I also appreciate that Instagram is regulating the process and is asking for feedback from its users.

What do you think? Will you use Instagram less because of advertisements? Will they help or hurt the company? Did you like or follow Michael Kors as a result of their ad?

Brigid Gorham

Red Sox: World Series Champs and Rebranding Geniuses

As you’ve probably heard (how could you not?), on October 30th, 2013 the Boston Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway for the first time since 1918. This title was particularly impressive seeing as the Red Sox performed less than satisfactory last year.

The 2012 Boston Red Sox season goes down in history as the one of the worst that the team has faced. It was the 112th season in the team’s history and the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. However, 2012 was also the year of the team’s first losing season since 1997, their first season with 90 or more losses since 1966, and overall, their worst season since 1965. The Red Sox ended the season with a 69–93 record, a last place finish in the American League East. Needless to say, when the team suited up in April this year for spring training, the Red Sox was a truly tarnished brand.

Just one year later, the author of this article from Sports Illustrated rightfully stated, “The Red Sox pulled off the baseball equivalent of turning around a hulking battleship on a dime in the middle of the ocean.” So how did the Sox go from a last place finish in the American League East to World Series Champs? Though they couldn’t have done it without Big Papi, good marketing and strategic PR played a bigger role in their World Series win than you might think.
A recent article titled “How the Red Sox Won Back the Hearts of Boston Through Brilliant Marketing” credits five key rebranding tactics in the great Red Sox turnaround. Here’s the Big Fish take on these tactics:

1) Purge the Brand Killers

ValSIThe first step in the rebranding of the Red Sox was to rid the team of those who tarnished the brand. They let go of manager Bobby Valentine, who proved to be a bad fit for the team. Valentine was unable to foster trust and communication among the players, which translated to poor performance on game day.

“The feel was different, the clubhouse was different,” Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz said about their new manager. “Having Farrell back in the mix was big for us. A lot of the guys were here when he was the pitching coach and had a relationship with him. He basically ran a really relaxed clubhouse and then expected people to do your business between the lines.”
In addition, they got rid of overpaid players who were not producing results.This included Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez. These players were not only losing games, but also would have cost the Red Sox $250 million in salaries through 2018.
2) Be Accountable

AdAnother great move by the Red Sox was to admit their wrongs. The team knew that it would be much easier to admit to having made mistakes and move forward, than to ignore that there was a problem altogether. In doing so, they opened themselves up to an opportunity to mend relationships and gain fans.

The article cites that at the start of the 2013 season, the Red Sox unveiled a new advertising campaign. The ads admitted that they let down their fan base the previous season, and looked to reassure them that the next season would be better. To add a cherry on the proverbial rebranding sundae, the Red Sox executed this move perfectly by putting the face of fan favorite, Dustin Pedroia, on the ad.

3) Build Community and Seize Opportunities

Boston-StrongIn light of the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox stepped up and became more than just a baseball team for the city of Boston. As the article notes, they became the epitome of the phrase Boston Strong, wore commemorative patches on their jerseys, invited police officers to the stadium all season long, and commended the survivors at Fenway games. To further emphasize their love for Boston, the Sox even hung up a 617 Red Sox jersey in their dugout every game, representing the area code for the city. Through these efforts, the team made it clear that they value and are committed to the people of Boston.

“I was just getting to know the city of Boston, and all of a sudden, it happened and it pulled me so close to the city because it hit so close to home,” catcher David Ross said in this article. “Remember 9/11, and it was like everyone was a New Yorker all of a sudden? [This bombing], it happened a mile from where we live. I’m a Bostonian now.”

4) Add Personality

Gomes-NapoliA major problem for the 2012 Red Sox, according to the article, was that the team lacked “likeable” players. A big issue arises when players are perceived as only being there for the large contracts, rather than the love of the game and a commitment to winning. There is a big difference between hiring big name superstars and hiring players that bring character and prove to be a good cultural fit.

For the 2013 season, the Red Sox brought in new players who seemed to be more personable and a better cultural fit for their fan base. This included Johnny Gomes and Mike Napoli. These players proved to have brought an ever stronger sense of community to the team, not to mention a newfound love for beards!

5) Win Games!

Although the article cites “grow beards,” as the Red Sox’s fifth step to success, I’d credit something else: winning games! No marketing or PR strategy would have been effective for the team if they did not produce results. Clearly, their rebranding strategy paired with high performing players resulted in a World Series win and the highly anticipated duck boat parade on Saturday, November 2nd. You can find more details about the parade here.

“Return to the river, we want to go into the dirty water,” stated Mayor Tom Menino in a press conference on October 31st.

Parade

Dana Harvey, Spring 2013 Intern