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2014 Social Media Trends: Part 1 of 5

by BIGfish

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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.
https://twitter.com/IcelandNatural/status/400723617149100032 https://twitter.com/IcelandNatural/status/400740068840980480

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  

Finding Your Social Media Sweet Spot

by BIGfish

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Did you know that blogging on Thursdays will maximize social media shares, but posting on Mondays will drive more traffic to your site? A recent article titled “A Scientific Guide to Maximizing Your Impact on Twitter, Facebook, and Other Digital Media,” explains the best times to post to various digital media platforms. The article, which was republished in Fast Company, received more than 10,000 shares on social media and certainly caught our attention.

As the author of this article mentions, results can vary depending on industry, company and audience, so readers should “use this guide as just that—a guide to help you work out what to test for your own audience, so that you can see what actually works best in your specific case.”

After looking at the data featured in this article, it’s easy to see the value of experimentation and analytics when it comes to social media. For example, if the below graph represented reactions to your tweets, you would certainly make sure to send out tweets on weekends.

Many studies on timing of social media posts are contradictory. Therefore, it’s important to study your past posts and determine when your specific audience is online, and there are several tools available to help you do this.

Evidence on the best content to post is more conclusive, though it varies per platform. For Twitter, links get the most retweets, and you can better your odds by simply asking for an “RT” or “retweet”. Check out this list of the most commonly retweeted words and phrases. Including at least one relevant hashtag per tweet is also recommended.

For Facebook, the new Facebook Insights page is a great place to determine what to post and when. With Insights you can view audience demographics and explore what kinds of posts (links, photos, videos, etc.) garnered the most likes, comments and shares. You can also look at your page’s progress over several months. As far as timing goes, posting at the end of the week and weekends generally helps boost interaction and engagement, but again it’s best to study your post history and see what’s working for your page.

We’ve discovered a few Facebook content tips while working with our social media clients as well as through some research. One thing we know for sure: Facebook users love photos. Some other Facebook pointers:

  • Shorter posts are more popular (under 140 characters but ideally less than 70)

  • Question posts get 100% more comments, but fewer likes and shares

  • Facebook fans love contests and coupons

We’ve seen success using these tactics with our own client, Iceland Naturally, which has more than 113,000 Likes. We post to their Facebook page daily, always attach a photo, usually include a link and often ask questions. As a result, last month’s posts reached an average of 10,000 people. We’ve also discovered the popularity of photos albums which we post monthly, with the most recent album reaching 18,720 people.

Truly understanding your audience is at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. Social media enables you to directly connect with your audience, ask them what they like, analyze their online habits and adjust your strategy and tactics in real time.

What works best for you? Do you have any social media content rules you live by?

-Brigid Gorham

 

BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard Appears on NPR

by BIGfish

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WBUR-2.7.13BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard appeared on NPR this morning to discuss the social pressures of the digital world. “Some people feel that if a certain amount of time goes by and they haven’t updated or they haven’t tweeted, that there’s something wrong with them,” he says. “It’s almost like this hamster wheel — that they need to constantly be getting content out there.” To listen to the full segment, click the photo above or click here.

Social Media and the Presidential Debates: What to Expect

by BIGfish

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The 2012 Presidential Debates kick off tonight at 9 p.m. with President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney facing off in Denver. With the debates being broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC -- PLUS being live streamed online -- it will be hard for anyone with a television or Internet connection to avoid tonight’s political discourse.

Publicly broadcast events like these always spur an online reaction - especially now. Think back to this summer’s Olympics; the Olympic organizers themselves dubbed them the “Social Media Olympics.”  And according to the Pew Research Center, 2012 marks the first time that more than half of all Americans aged 65 and older are online. So how will social media react to the 2012 debates? How will it differ from the 2008 debates? Here are our predictions:

1. Thousands more people will participate in tweeting and Facebooking about the debates. After all, social media has exploded in the past four years. In 2008, Twitter had only 6 million users; now it has 140 million. Over that same time period, Facebook grew from 100 million users to 900 million. Combine those statistics with the fact that 45% of American adults own smartphones, and we have more people actively using social media than ever before.

2. “Obama,” “Romney,” or “debate” will be a trending topic on Twitter. Maybe this is an obvious one, but we’re still pointing it out. Perhaps one of the candidates will even purchase a trending topic - the Romney campaign was the first to do so in September when it promoted #RomneyRyan2012 during the Republican National Convention. 3. Your Facebook feed will be transformed into a stream of political comments from people whose opinions you really don’t care about. Annoying political posts on Facebook have become the norm these days. Everyone has that one Facebook friend who constantly posts inflammatory statuses specifically to start an argument. Fear not! Lifehacker has put together a helpful post so you can hide these people from your News Feed. 4. GIFs celebrating either candidates’ gaffes will run amuck. The GIF animation bandwagon is another aspect of social media that has recently exploded. President Obama’s social media team has even created a campaign Tumblr with dozens of Obama GIFs. We feel pretty confident the GIF creators of the Internet will find plenty of clips from tonight’s debate to keep us entertained. How else do you think social media will react to tonight’s first round of debates? We’ll find out soon enough!

Curt Schilling Tweets Disparaging Remarks at R.I. Governor

by BIGfish

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Since the failure of his video game company 38 studios, Curt Schilling has started to criticize the governor of Rhode Island, going as far as to call him a "buffoon" in a tweet. An article from today's Boston Herald quoted BIGfish President David Gerzof Richard on the issue, who said Schilling’s tweets reveal him to be a “rough and tumble sideline bully” and can only intensify media scrutiny of his actions. To read the entire article, click the photo above or click here.

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