The Social media scorecard is the industry’s first ever quantified assessment of the relative merits of the top social sites in terms of their ease-of-use for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. One clear victor emerged: Facebook.
More than 170 social marketers polled for the study rated it above Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ in almost every department. The only notable exceptions were Twitter’s ranking as the best platform for building brand awareness and LinkedIn for having the most effective user-targeting tools.
While Facebook received the highest ratings across the board, what really surprised me was just how harshly marketers rated each of the platforms. When asked to mark each of the platforms out of 10 in terms of their strengths, Facebook only managed an average score of 4.39; Twitter averaged 4.02 and last-placed Google+ garnered an average rating of 3.05.
If this was a school report card then even Facebook would be scraping a D-.
So why, in the eyes of marketers, are social platforms falling far short of providing an A+ service for their customers? How can the platforms up their game and improve the tools marketers need for campaign planning, execution and post-campaign analysis. Answers on the back of a postcard please…
MySpace got into hot water last year for deleting years of users’ blog posts before its re-launch. There was uproar from users, and in response MySpace created an export tool to allow them to download their old posts from the site.
Were users right to get upset? Did MySpace have to hand over old posts to users whose accounts had been deleted?
The short answer is that, legally, it didn’t have to do a thing.
What are your rights to the content you post? If you regularly post content to a social network or blogging platform, you should consider two issues:
Who owns the rights to the content you post?
The availability of the platform on which the content appears.
Let’s look first at who owns the rights to the content. It’s fairly straightforward: if you created the content, you own it. That is, assuming you haven’t assigned rights to another party (for example, a company which paid you to create the content) – and it doesn’t infringe copyright. See my blog post on using photos in social media.
What you don’t own, fairly obviously, is the platform on which you’re posting that content.
If you’re posting to WordPress or Facebook, for example, you are relying on the availability of the platform to host your content for you. You don’t automatically have the right to expect the people at that platform to do so.
Mostly, these are free services. The platform owner couldn’t possibly guarantee the availability of the service – managing the legal risk would be too great. What if it went bust, or was bought? It has to retain the right to delete content, or to suspend users.
Read the terms and conditions As ever, the detail is in the contract: the terms and conditions that so few people read until it’s too late.
The main social media and blogging platforms retain the right to terminate or suspend the service at their discretion, at any time.
Broadly, what varies is how each platform communicates this. Google’s terms of service (for all its properties including Blogger and Google+), say: “If we discontinue a service, where reasonably possible, we will give you reasonable advance notice and a chance to get information out of that service.”
This is an unusually user-friendly statement, and Google is the most explicit of the main platforms on the issue of getting information out in the event of a service suspension.
In July 2013, Tumblr (acquired by Yahoo in May 2013) shut down the account of Bohemea, a blogger with more than 100,000 followers, after the platform received five complaints that she had used copyrighted material in her posts. According to the blogger, she offered to take down the material in question, but was not given the opportunity to do so.
Tumblr’s terms of service say it “may change, suspend, or discontinue any or all of the Services at any time, including the availability of any product, feature, database, or Content … Tumblr may also terminate or suspend Accounts … at any time, in its sole discretion”.
So it was completely within its rights in this case. Sometimes, a platform or service might not have the resource (or inclination) to investigate every legal complaint, and it might just be simpler to delete the post or user causing the problem. Paid sites (and therefore often those with better funding) might have more resources to be able to investigate.
Don’t risk losing your followers and your hard work But a following of 100,000 is hard won, and even harder to win back after a suspension. There is a real risk that you could lose everything you’ve worked for, if you’re relying solely on a third-party platform as a place to build your reputation or following.
Even if you own the content you’ve created, you may, by agreeing to the terms of a site, be granting that site a licence to use your posts. This is most notably true in Facebook’s case.
The terms state: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.”
However, it goes on to say: “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”
So you own your content, but you can’t fully control where and how it is used by Facebook. It is, after all, a free service (for now anyway – note the term that says “We do not guarantee that the platform will always be free”). That’s the trade-off.
How to protect your content What should you do to protect yourself? Here is my checklist to minimise the risk of losing your content:
Always read the terms and conditions of the platforms you use, so you’re not caught out
Minimise the risk of suspension: abide by the terms of the platform and check you’re not infringing copyright on anything you post
Respond promptly to any copyright infringement allegations
Never rely on a platform to be the sole repository of your IP, or your fans / followers
Consider spreading the risk across different platforms
Have a plan B, in case the platform goes down or your account is suspended
Take back-ups of everything you post.
By DMA guest blogger Rachel Boothroyd, Legal Counsel, eModeration
Each month, the Creative Hub of the Brand Activation Council seeks out inspiring work, to share with you, here, on the DMA Blog.
To do this, we ask creative teams and individuals from member companies to put forward new, standout work that they’ve spotted, from anywhere in the world, that involves at least one brand activation element. This might be: ambient, digital, direct mail, experiential, PR theatre, shopper marketing or social network activity.
For our creative showcase, we’re not necessarily looking for joined-up, strategic, multichannel brand activation – simply something that creatively brings a brand to life and encourages positive physical or digital participation.
For February, members of the creative team at Indicia were challenged with sharing their favourite brand activation pieces that proved love was in the air:
Date spotted: 2014-02-10 Client: Ann Summers Campaign / Brand: Happy Ann Summers Day Agency/ies: Propaganda Image: Supplied at 440 wide Link to video: n/a Spotter: Richard Norton, Associate Creative Director
Richard says: Out on the streets, cheeky, subversive and disruptive. Using projection and clean street stencils to get their message out there (sometimes on retail neighbours). If you saw it, you were almost certain to smile. A definite case of naughty but nice.
HD comment: Naughty but nice? Naughty but cute? Or do you think this is just plain naughty?
Date spotted: 2014-02-14 Client: Heart Research UK Campaign / Brand: Heart Research UK Agency/ies: McCann London Image: Supplied at 440 wide Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nY0EWPhCxjU Spotter: Clare Gill, Junior Planner
Clare says: Bang on theme; it’s easy to “fall in love” with this campaign as it helps to nurture the hearts of the broken-hearted by encouraging them to auction off trinkets from past lovers to help raise money for those that physically have broken hearts. The discarded trinkets, packed full of bad memories, are snapped up by individuals using Instagram #instaheartauction.
The item is then put up for auction to raise money for Heart Research UK. The trinket finds a new loving home and the broken-hearted individual discovers new love by helping others. That’s a whole lotta love!
HD comment: It’s always hard for charities to capture our imagination and be different within their crowded space. This feels like a fresh, simple idea, but maybe a rather complicated physical mechanic?
Proving, though, that love is not just for February, here’s the latest from McCann London, “Following the success of the #InstaHeartAuction launched on Valentine’s Day, Heart Research UK has decided to continue the online instagram marketplace. So broken hearts will continue healing another.”
Date spotted: 2014-02-08 Client: Evian Campaign / Brand: I love you like Agency/ies: We Are Social Image: Supplied at 440 wide Link to video: n/a Spotter: Sophie Forge, Planner
Sophie says: Before 14 February, consumers who tweeted @evianwater or @evian_uk using the hashtag #ILoveYouLike received a response with an alternative Valentine’s message, such as, “I love you like Robin secretly loves Batman,” or, “I love you like the ’80s love a power ballad,” – just a nice timely engagement mechanic that encouraged followers to “share the love”.
HD comment: Great alternative Valentine’s messages and clean, stylish pink and white illustrations. Running across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, I’d have liked to see the activation include a physical channel. Other than that, what’s not to love?
Date spotted: 2014-02-14 Client: Coca-Cola Campaign / Brand: The Invisible Coca-Cola Vending Machine Agency/ies: C-Section, Istanbul Image: Supplied at 440 wide Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjMhZFhD0tI Spotter: Rebecca Heard, Planner
Rebecca says: Coca-Cola has come up with a number of brilliant campaigns that reflect its ‘Open Happiness’ theme, a lot of them involving vending machine ideas.
For Valentine’s Day it made ”The Invisible Vending Machine”, which became visible only to couples. When a couple approached, the machine revealed itself and asked for their names before launching a light show and dispensing personalised cans of Coca-Cola.
Why do I love it? Because it’s a simple, fun campaign which not only truly represents Coke’s ‘brand story’ but one which resonates strongly with its target audience and works time and time again.
HD comment: Appealing and engaging if you’re already in a couple – not so much fun if you’re still looking for your Valentine!
As Rebecca pointed out, Coca-Cola have done this before, including another couples-only vending machine with C-Section, in Istanbul, for Valentine’s Day 2012.
Morag says: Sometimes all it takes to make you feel good really is a cute kid, a singing cat and a great song. It’s not selling me anything it just made me feel good. Great ad to get people talking and nice end – where you too can get involved.
HD comment: If you couldn’t resist Elf Yourself, last decade (seriously!), you’ll not want to miss starring in your own music video with Three’s singing kitty.
While financial services brands shouldn’t enter social media communications lightly, enter they must. More of us are conducting at least some of our financial affairs on the go through mobile banking and home budgeting apps while half of us who use Facebook access the site from our mobiles. It’s not just global financial services brands that stand to gain, local firms who master the art of social can extend their reach far beyond the geographical limits of their business.
As Pete Matthew, managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management, a small FS firm based in Penzance says the key to social media success is to give value, keep giving value, listen to people and then act on what they are saying. “The clue is in the name – social – people want to connect with you. If you’re faceless, bland and just keep pumping out information people won’t want to connect with you. They want to get to know you, like you, follow you and eventually… trust you.”
DMA Social Media Council member Julie Atherton, chief strategy officer at Indicia, interviewed Pete as part of a series of video interviews on how different sectors are using social.
Social media offers brands the chance to connect with customers and prospects on a personal level, build strong relationships through genuine one-to-one communication.
So why have financial services (FS) brands been so slow to join the party?
FS brands face unique challenges when using social media – they’re worried about putting out the wrong kind of message and contravening strict Financial Services Authority and Advertising Standards Authority rules.
And let’s not forget the low levels of consumer trust in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis. A foray into social could invite a barrage of abuse.
Yet despite the barriers there are some pioneering FS brands out there like multinational RSA Insurance Group whose strong presence on social and smart social media activities is helping it boost its brand reputation and fundamentally change the way its markets its products and services. “FS brands can’t afford not to be visible on social as if you’re not talking about your brand you can be sure someone else is,” says RSA’s chief marketing officer, Peter Markey.
As part of a series of video interviews by the DMA Social Media Council, Julie Atherton, chief strategy officer at Indicia, asks Peter about how his company is successfully using social media.
Last week I attended Mobile World Congress (MWC) where one common theme was the normalisation of short form video. It is what links all new platforms and many emerging behaviours and firms together. 4G and cheap Android powered devices are changing consumptive and creative patterns rapidly. Video is the social dog that has not yet barked.
Like ecommerce, it takes a long time to be normal. What’s next? It’s already here! It’s just not “normal” for most people yet.
Vine is a social media sharing app that allows users to create short looping videos up to seven seconds across various social media sites. After being bought by Twitter in late 2012 it has shot to success and had a number of successful commercial uses over the last few years: Oreo Cookies, Columbia Records, Gap, and even Dunkin Donuts. The last company became the ﬁrst enterprise to use a ‘sing Vine’ as an entire television advert!
Snapchat is a phone app that allows users to take photos, videos and create animations or drawings that can be sent out to a controlled list of contacts. You are able to set how long the recipient is able to view the snap up to max of 10 seconds, After that, the message disappears and is deleted from the recipient’s device.
Over the past 12 months it has exploded into mainstream media with a recent report saying 77% of US college students use it daily. However, there has been some controversy around the service and its lack of security features. It is still proving to be a strong new social platform for brands to jump on the bandwagon. Most noticeable has been Taco Bell, Audi and most recently HBO’s promotion of Girls and Channel 4′s Hollyoaks, all offering additional, between-episodes content.
Instagram is a photo sharing and social networking site that allows users to capture content in a square format and apply a number of ﬁlters, to modify images which has became a signature for the service. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram (at the time it was a team of seven with 120 million active users) for $1bn.
In June 2013 video capability of up to 15 seconds was added, with some seeing it as an attempt to battle with the growing success of Twitter’s Vine. The demographic of Instagram is slightly older than Vine and Snapchat, and has therefore had great success with more premium clothing brands embracing the medium such as Burberry, Nike and Go pro! all allowing them direct channels to consumers’ devices.
Wibbitz is an up and coming company from MWC. Its technology allows automatic transformation of text-based web content such as articles and blog posts into beautiful short video summaries. It has a clean and minimalistic feel to it and caters to this growing trend of quick consumption of media on the go by turning readers into viewers. The company has come out of the rapidly expanding start-up revolution happening in Israel –the fastest growing start-up market in the world! It has huge potential for brands to create more engaging rich video content from their existing online presence.
By DMA guest blogger Jai Kotecha, Associate Director, Social@OgilvyUK
Answer, they each weren’t prepared for a social media crisis they themselves caused or fell foul of not responding to consumer feeling/feedback.
Subway is the latest in a sadly never ending line of brands and organisations that have fallen foul of social media backlash and do not have clear procedures and guidelines when a social media crisis arises. This month’s anonymous flash poll from the DMA is looking to see what percentage of marketers feel they are prepared to handle a social media crisis if it hit tomorrow.
Being prepared when it comes to social media responses is not only sensible but also a key way of selling in social media in the first instance. Step one is usually having a response procedure (sometimes referred to as an “engagement matrix”) should the worst happen – however due to the speed at which things change, having an update policy is also required.
Be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+ each carries a risk as well as a reward – the question is how prepared do you feel? Let us know your thoughts below.
By DMA guest blogger Paul Armstrong, Founder of Digital Orange Consulting and DMA Social Media Council member
In a polarising flash poll conducted via the DMA website, members were asked “Do you use video as part of your social media strategy?”
Results indicate that there is a clear divide between marketers in their strategies when it comes to their use of video content. Half of all respondents (47.37%/95 total respondents) reported that currently they did not use video as part of their strategy.
While the results are surprising considering the ubiquity of video (+4 billion videos are viewed per day) on multiple platforms and devices – 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube – there are often many real preconceptions surrounding video that put marketers off including:
Perceived cost (services like peopleperhour and Hangouts from Google are rapidly bringing down the cost of quality video production)
Perceived required technology (again, there are fewer barriers to entry – it’s important to realise that not every video has to be ready for primetime – often a quick smartphone video using a tripod is all that is needed).
The best advice is to start small, keep it short, understand the basics (like keyword tagging and correct titling) but ultimately keep it as fun as possible – video needn’t be hard if you go into it with the correct mentality.