Screaming above the White Noise

(Note: this is a blog post I wrote a few weeks back, but the WordPress app decided to lose it entirely! Still, I wanted to get these thoughts out here.)

Recently, I posted the below on Twitter, referencing this particular article about Twitter bots.

Now, not all bots are bad, many were created for very good, or at least harmless reasons, for example, I follow a bot that tweets a graph of local river levels every few hours, and another that generates fictional museum exhibition names.

However, if when such a high number of accounts are bots, it starts to make the entire site useless. As the original article states, it makes Twitter engagement analytics pointless- how can you prove a real human being liked or retweeted your tweets? How can you prove growth? There are research issues to consider to – at University I did quite a bit of work on mapping Twitter connections – this was in the earlier days of academic research on social media and Twitter was quite a different beast then. Connection-mapping techniques would produce seriously flawed data in today’s Twittersphere, when mindless machine accounts are linking ‘real’ accounts up. Either Twitter, or research techniques, will have to change at a fundamental level.

Advertisements

Finding a Balance

One of the most important recent parts of digital marketing, at least as far as I’ve found, is finding the balance between putting your eggs in too few or too many baskets.

There’s plenty of evidence that having too many social media platforms, websites, basically digital spaces in general, means that your general content and engagement will suffer because you can’t possibly be active and interesting on that many sites. It also simply isn’t worth the time spent to maintain small groups followers and communities across many platforms when you could have a larger group on two or three.

However, there is the problem that if you use one platform that works well for you, you’re then at the mercy of that site and any changes to that site could make you inflexible. For example, recent  companies, political parties etc. have been complaining about how the changes to Facebook to promote more content from friends and families instead of brands.  Where they have been used to spending vast amounts of money to good effect, the changes have made it much harder to run good marketing campaigns. No doubt this is make many people look harder at alternative options, which is fine if you already have an organic base of followers elsewhere to start with, starting is scratch is difficult and takes time.

LinkedIn’s Big Moment, plus Hashtags

So this is a post I started writing a week or so ago, before I went away. Therefore the bit about Hootchat is a little old by tweet standards, but the content is still relevant!

Over the last few months, I’ve been making an effort to follow Hootsuite’s #Hootchat conversations on Twitter – sadly the time zone differences mean it’s difficult for me to join in live!

Some days back, I found the below question popping up on my feed, and a number of the answers were pretty interesting.

https://twitter.com/hootsuite/status/954084776142663681

Although LinkedIn has always been around, occupying that professional  networking niche (the one that Google+ tried and failed to capitalise on) it appears that as a new digital generation has matured, it has become more and more relevant, whilst Twitter and Facebook have begun to fall by the wayside.

In other news, I’m enjoying an accidental hashtag mix-up on my Twitter feed; one which proves you should always check how a hashtag is used (and if it is a year-related hashtag, check it with the previous year in to see what might be around.) Otherwise, you might end up in the same position as the International Communications Association, whose choice of #ica18 for their conference is causing some confusion when that hashtag is dominated by potential entrants for the 2018 International Cheese Awards…

Twitter Moments have a problem

A very little thought that I’ve had for some time regarding Twitter’s use of user tweets in their newsfeed and moments.

So, I’ve had a few tweets used, and generally they were political in nature, which unsurprisingly generated a small amount of insults and abuse. Not a huge amount, and nothing that I couldn’t ignore or block, but it occurred to me that a random comment on current events out of thousands could be broadcast to the world and to a much larger amount of that abuse.

Now, I decided that I wanted to remove my tweet from one of these moments. Seems like it should be an easy thing to do, right? Well, after a lot of googling, I discovered from Twitter’s own help site that in order to remove yourself from a Twitter moment, you have to block the account that created it.

This may be fine if you are are in a Twitter moment that someone has created with malicious intent, but if the moment is created by the @twittermoments account itself, you presumably have to block the main source of curated Twitter news in order to remove yourself from a moment? Plus, this is not made obvious at all. Overall, it seems like something Twitter should look into changing for usability purposes, especially related to the changes that Twitter has promised to make to it’s abuse policies.

Facebook Video Notes

Over the past eighteen months or so, one big change I’ve made to the Facebook business pages that I manage is a massive increase in the amount of visual content posted compared to just about anything else (though always with links, since it’s all about driving that traffic to a web page.)

So this article ‘This Research Will Make You Rethink How You Create Your Facebook Videos‘, which covered stats garnered from thousands of videos to try and analyse exactly what makes the best-performing Facebook video.

However, this kind of info can be misleading, because it assumes that all you need is pure views. This is certainly the case for a lot of Facebook pages, but if you’re trying to market any kind of product, I always end up remembering some advice from a talk at Google Digital Garage (incidentally, if Google ever brings Digital Garage to your town, and I’m not sure if they still do that or if everything is online now, you should go. Seriously, it’s incredibly useful stuff). We were told that, when making videos, it doesn’t necessarily matter how many people see your stuff, just that the right people see it. There may be advantage to a video that is much longer or shorter than this article recommends, if the particular audience that you want will respond to that. Likewise, the list of most popular topics can be misleading – finance and cars might be much less popular than food or beauty products, but in these industries you need far fewer customers to make the same amount of money, so naturally your audience will be much smaller. Overall, articles like this only work as a guideline, because the Facebook audience can’t be regarded as a homogeneous whole, but can be broken down into many, many niches of viewers and customers.

Twitter’s new plan and what is missing

A few days ago, I read this article, highlighting the changes that Twitter is making to it’s abuse management and reporting. 

You can read my initial thoughts on in tweet format here: https://twitter.com/clareisonline/status/921421472794664961

It is great that a Twitter is taking direct action to improve it’s service, one of the issues is that so far, Twitter hasn’t been much good at enforcing the rules it already had in place. The algorithm for sensitive content and potentially offensive replies seems to work quite well as far as I have found (if somewhat over-zealously at times), so the real issues seems to be human moderation of reported tweets.

Any journey through the timeline of various activists, especially women and POC, will turn up stories from people who have reported graphic imagery, threats of physical violence, personal information and other clear TOS violations.

Since I started writing this, I came across this article from The Daily Beast which sums up one clear issue – if you are famous, if you have a big following, or if you can kick up enough of a stink for Twitter to notice, you have a better chance of getting your issues sorted and harassing accounts or sensitive information removed. Clearly this is a bad way to run a social media platform, and it remains to be seen whether Twitter can implement a culture change within their own company that might help to fix this.

Blaugust Day 30: Back on Track with final Pinterest for Business Notes

Hello again world! Yes, I’m finally back on dry land with internet access and phone battery, and the spell of pre-written, scheduled posts is over. There’s two days left of Blaugust and for this one, we’re back to the final set of notes for my Highbrow course on Pinterest for Business. 
Pinterest Campaigns

  • There are multiple platforms that you can use to schedule content, and in addition to toning posts, you can also ‘loop’ posts, which is a way to bring old content back into the forefront and into relevance. This would be particularly useful to seasonal and holiday-related products.
  • You can also use these platforms to set up campaigns, which is will auto-post to public boards as well as as your own.
  • Looping certain pins around increases their chances of being picked up by a major Pinterest account, and spread more widely, improving your website traffic and hopefully your sales.

 Board Management

  • Over time, your original boards could start to get huge, which makes them less useful to people looking for specific products, so be sure to keep creating new boards and separating different threads.
  • Your links on Pinterest can be via affiliate links, which is another potential income source.