Video Engagement Mixes It Up With New Forms

Tweeting Noise

Tweeting Noise

It’s a well-known fact that the Internet likes to gobble up fresh content and that to make a splash in such a noisy space, more is more.

Twitter takes the biscuit as brands slog it out to churn messages that will keep them at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

But, pause for a moment and reflect.

The point of social media is to engage.

Sure pumping out volumes of content is a strategy of sorts, but logic dictates that quality will eventually suffer and, gawd forbid, messages, whether copy, photos or video, might even become inane and damaging.

As digital matures, allowing for more content innovation, the best practitioners will explore how to take storytelling to a new level. It will be here that content consumer and creators will spend time.

And I guess this is where business should want to be; engaging its target audience with quality output that increases brand value.

Immersive video is a new angle that takes the viewer deeper into the narrative.

Firestorm is one such project; created by the Guardian’s multimedia team and cited by Econsultancy as a pivotal trend that with the right budget can cause a sensation on the web.

It’s a moving account of one family’s narrow escape from a terrifying bushfire in Tasmania. The story is told using background video, overlay text, scrolling indexed pages and interviews that are seamlessly integrated into the experience.

This kind of material is a bulwark against the quick-fire, volume-driven brand chatter that will continue to fill social networks.

It gives the more thoughtful consumer a place to find out more about the brand narrative and help to spread the word in a different way.

Read more about the construction of Firestorm at journalism.co.uk

Lush Cosmetics and funny videos

We love the long-running Lush video campaign, which makes the Lush YouTube channel very attractive to consumers. The 350-odd videos on the channel are extremely varied and have brought a total of more than 3m views.

The Poole company is no stranger to YouTube, where they’ve had an account since Dec 2006.

Lush are promoting their vids via Facebook and Twitter – and the videos are accruing thousands of views as a result.

Most recently, their new product, Toothy Tabs:

Tell #Barbie it’s over – Greenpeace animation for action

We’re impressed by this new campaign, launched by Greenpeace yesterday. It features an animated interview with Ken (of Barbie and Ken fame), as he learns that Barbie comes in packaging made from Indonesian rainforest. Branded in Barbie and Ken’s favourite colours and on a new subdomain of the main site, the premise is to lobby Mattel‘s CEO via email.

The viral element is key and social sharing is hinted at, including via Twitter (The Twitter account @GreenpeaceUK is a headshot of animated Ken), Facebook (The avatar appears again on the Greenpeace UK page and there’s a new ‘Ken’ landing page) and ‘email a friend’.

Twitter users are also taking it upon themselves to mention the official Mattel account (@Mattel_Inc).

There’s a very serious message behind the campaign, since Mattel uses pulp companies in Indonesia whose activities directly threaten critically endangered species, such as the Orang-utan, Sumatran tiger and Sumatran elephants, and Greenpeace’s daring marketing strategy is a masterstroke in engagement.

There’s much, much more here: Ken campaign – Stop Mattel destroying rainforests for toy packaging

Google launches Plus One social sharing button

Google has launched a new tool to enable users to share content they like with friends and family. Initially only available to a tiny percentage of English language sites and only in the US, the plan is to roll it out globally before the end of the year.

The +1 button will rival the Facebook ‘Like’ button and the ‘Tweet’ button, which already appear on hundreds of thousands of content-driven websites all over the world.

The button will appear next to search results and ads within Google, and also next to content on blogs and news sites. Once clicked, the recommendation will be visible to contacts within Gmail address book, Google Reader and Buzz.

It’s an exciting step because it’s an alternative to sharing on Facebook or Twitter – and Google claim it’s more relevant because it means sharing only within the context of relevant search results, rather than spamming every contact with every link. In this way, it’s shortcutting Twitter and Facebook – you get the results there and then, and only when you need them.

+1 sharing is also there to stay, so while a link I shared last year on Twitter or Facebook is long gone, it will still appear to my contacts when they are looking for specific content. That makes it useful for hunting for things that you vaguely remember tweeting about, and could make +1 a viable alternative to bookmarking.

Ultimately, +1 will benefit the search algorithm, devolving power to Google’s users. The very best content will become flagged in multiple, discrete occurrences with +1′s, lifting that content in search results and providing Google with extremely useful grassroots feedback.

Explaining Klout scores

Somebody asked me today what their Klout score means. It’s something I look at with every new Twitter account I follow. Despite using them most days, I wasn’t able to give a straightforward or complete answer… is was something about influence, measured by how your tweets are received and how influential your followers are.

Well, Klout score are complicated, so we’d rather you read the Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klout

Businesses identify Web 2.0 as ‘critical’ or ‘important’

It might sound obvious, but businesses are increasingly relying on blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to bring in revenue.

A new report, conducted in the USA and Canada, has identified an increase over two years in the number of companies relying on the web for marketing activities.

Between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of companies that found their corporate blog ‘important’ or ‘critical’ increased from 52% to 62%. On the same scale, Facebook increased from 24% to 44%, largely down to the increased functionality of Facebook Pages and the Facebook API. Twitter’s score almost doubled, from 21% to 38% – in the same timeframe, the company has increased 10-fold in size and while Twitter remains tight-lipped about the actual figures, we estimate that the number of users is now around 230m.

YouTube has also taken a giant leap forward, with almost half of companies now relying on the video sharing website (44%), up from a quarter two years ago. Video is an extremely powerful medium and most big corporates use it every day.

Interestingly, some figures are down – Flickr, the photo sharing website, is considered less important as a proportion of the total, as is MySpace, perhaps predictably. The social bookmarking sites have also taken a hit – Digg and StumbleUpon are down dramatically – perhaps they were just a fad after all.

 

Social Media ROI

There’s a new book on the shelves called Social Media ROI, Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organisation, by Olivier Blanchard (not the same Olivier Blanchard as the IMF’s chief economist, but the principle at the small US marketing outfit brandbuilder).

It sums up the conversations we’ve been having recently in the office about quantifying the previously unquantifiable.

It takes you through strategy, integration, management and measurement of social media for corporates.

We’d like to share the foreward, written by another social media author, Brian Solis:

ROI Doesn’t Stand for Return on Ignorance

I’m often asked, what’s the ROI of social media? To which I answer, you can’t measure what it is you do not value or know to value.

Sounds simple enough. But, the truth is, determining value is not an easy process. But then again, whoever said using social media effectively in business was easy…is wrong.

As in anything in business, the ability to tie activity to the business values is critical. If we are to commit time, resources, and budget to social networks our investments must be justified. Indeed, social media strategies must prove long-term value and contribution to the bottom line in order to evolve into a pillar of business success. But, how do you measure something when best practices, case studies, and answers in general are elusive? We are struggling to prove the merit of an important ingredient in the future success of business because precedents have yet to be written or tested.

While many companies are already investing in social media, the reality is that most are done without the ability to demonstrate any return on investment. The truth is that you succeed in anything if success is never defined. The good news is that success is definable and attainable. It just takes a little work…well, honestly, a lot of work to tie intended outcomes to the “R” (return) in ROI. And, even though social media, as a platform and series of channels, is inexpensive or free to host a presence, time and resources still carry fixed costs. To that end, if we enhance our presences or apply greater resources, the investment goes up exponentially. It comes down to the old adage, “time is money.”

Everything starts with the end in mind.

Success is not a prescription. There isn’t one way to excel or measure progress. But, that’s the point. We must first design outcomes into the equation. What do we want to accomplish? What’s the return we seek? Are we trying to sell, change, drive, cause, or inspire something specific? Are we reducing customer problems as measured by inbound volume, open tickets, public discourse? Are we trying to shift sentiment to a more positive state that increases referrals as a result?

Success requires definition based on intentions, goals, and mutual value…across the organization from the top down, bottom up, inside out and outside in. Success is defined departmentally and also at the brand level. And, success is tied to desirable actions and outcomes. And, as we’ve already established, it’s impossible to measure the ROI for something if we haven’t first established the R (Return) or the I (Investment). No amount of new acronyms will change this yet we see new terms introduced as if we’ve already given up on defining ROI; Return on Engagement (ROE), Return on Participation (ROP), Return on Listening (ROL), Return on Fluid Listening (ROFL – yes it’s a joke), Return on ignorance (The new ROI). In the end, everything carries cost and effect.

The debate over ROI is only going to gain in importance. But, that’s where we need to go in order to gain the support we need to expand our investment in social media. You’re in good hands though. Olivier Blanchard is indeed one of the few who can help. Here, he has written a comprehensive guide that will help you at every step from planning to program integration to management to measurement.

Thanks to Olivier, you’ll find the answers to your questions and also answers to the questions that you didn’t know to ask.

As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. The success of all things social media is up to you to define, quite literally.

Happy Birthday Twitter

Twitter was five years old yesterday, in that on 21st March 2006, founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first Tweet.

It read “just setting up my twttr” (twttr being the original name for the microblogging website).

In the five years since, more than 200m users have registered accounts (including people and bots) and the company, with just 400 employees, is worth in excess of $8bn. And it’s growing at an astonishing rate, with around 500,000 new users registered every day and around 140m tweets sent every day, which is almost three times more than at this time last year.

Twitter has celebrated with a celebrity-packed birthday video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AN4_N5N52U]

Charlie Sheen’s Internship ad on Twitter

US actor Charlie Sheen has reached out to his 2.2m Twitter followers with an ad for a summertime social media intern.

These amazing statistics from internships.com show how it was received and how, in the first hour, he converted more than 74,000 applications across three-quarters of the world’s countries.

The ad was posted on Monday, the same day Sheen was fired by CBS and Warner Bros from Two and a Half Men, the series that made him the highest paid TV actor last year, with a $1.8m per episode paycheque.

 

And in case you’re interested, here is the ad itself: http://ow.ly/4bu7A

Deadline: March 11th, 2011

Position: Full-Time, Paid

Timeframe: Summer 2011 (8 weeks)

Description: Do you have #TigerBlood? Are you all about #Winning? Can you #PlanBetter than anyone else? If so, we want you on #TeamSheen as our social media #TigerBloodIntern!

This unique internship opportunity will allow a hard-working, self-motivated, creative, resourceful and social media savvy individual to work closely with Charlie Sheen in leveraging his social network. The internship will focus on executing a social media strategy that will build on the success Charlie Sheen has attained in setting the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter. The #TigerBloodIntern is expected to be proactive, monitor the day-to-day activities on the major social media platforms, prepare for exciting online projects and increase Charlie’s base of followers.

You will learn how to promote and develop the social media network of Hollywood’s most trending celebrity.

Kim Kardashian is dead until $1m is raised for charity

 

A handful of celebrities have logged off social networking sites and won’t log on again until $1m is raised for a charity.

Singer Alicia Keys’ charity Keep A Child Alive provides AIDS treatment in Africa and India – and she masterminded the campaign with her new husband Kasseem Daoud Dean, to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday.

So Lady Gaga’s 7m Twitter followers won’t hear a word out of her until the money is in the bank. Fans of Justin Timberlake, Elijah Wood, Usher and Kim Kardashian will also be kept in the dark for the duration.

However, while the celebrities will be thinking that through their silence they’ll be raising awareness for the charity, will anyone even notice they’ve gone? Is the use of social networks mature enough for anyone to be noticeable by their absence?

We think that where real awareness will be raised is from the spin-off PR in blogs, online editions of newspapers and traditional media.