Friday, 18 December 2015

How powerful are your influencers?

Influencers may not as powerful as we might think! Says Christopher S. Penn from SHIFT Communications who recently had the opportunity to work on a number of influencer analytic projects. Follow SHIFT Communications on Twitter: @SHIFTcomm

Over the past couple of weeks, I have the opportunity to work on a number of influencer analytics projects. One thing which has stood out consistently in all of my analyses is that influencers are not as powerful as we might think, necessitating greater care in choosing them.

As part of our READ framework for social media influence, we download and analyze the social media posts of influencers over the past 365 days in order to audit their effectiveness. We look at which influencers are truly moving the needle. To better illustrate this process, let’s take a look at the fashion sector.
We begin with standard engagement numbers for Likes and Comments:
Instagram Likes
Notice above, we see a power law curve. The top influencers garner the biggest numbers and then it’s a long tail of less-powerful influencers. From this data, we should be able to easily pick which influencers we want to work with, right?

Not so fast. Instagram likes are so easy to obtain, your cat could accidentally like every photo in your feed. Comments require at least some level of effort to leave. What if we looked at the ratio of comments to likes for each of these influencers?
Instagram fashion
Above, we see that Jaclyn Hill is the standout in the top of the pack. She has a comment to like ratio in the upper quartile, the top 25%, of her peers, while everyone else at the top of the list is in the lowest 25%, the lowest quartile. If we care about getting deeper, more meaningful engagement, we might eschew everyone ahead of Jaclyn.

This is a big deal, a major shift (pardon the on-brand pun) in how we look at influencers. We want to work with influencers who can generate effective results.

We also see that influencers are struggling with content shock as much as brands are. Let’s take a look:
Overall Instagram Engagement
Note: the left axis is logarithmic as the disparity between likes and comments is gigantic.
Above, we see that influencers are still building audience, the red line. They are growing, but not at extreme rates.

We see that engagement is mostly neutral; the orange line for likes is ascending a tiny amount while the blue line for comments is flat.

We see that the ratio between comments and likes, the green line, is the problem. Deep engagement vs. shallow engagement shows these influencers are not garnering as much deep engagement, and this has faded over the past year.

Still, with huge numbers, these influencers are still helping fashion brands reach the right audience, right?
Overall Instagram Engagement to Audience
Above we plot the total engagements (likes + comments) against the influencers’ audiences. The fuchsia line above shows that influencers’ ability to get audiences to engage at all is on a steady decline.
What can we take away from this analysis? Selecting influencers today and in the future will require significantly more data analysis capabilities if you want to maximize the impact of your influencer relations program. Simply finding the loudest people is no longer sufficient to ensure results. We have to find the most impactful influencers using a variety of metrics and carefully monitor their performance throughout our programs.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Creating the Future of PR Forum

Last week Tiff had the pleasure of speaking on the panel at the Creating the Future of PR Forum on Thursday, October 15th.

At the Forum, future-oriented PR professionals explored where PR is heading and what needs to be done to seize the enormous emerging opportunities for value creation. Speakers included Ross Dawson (Advanced Human Technologies Group), Tiff, Allison Lee (Destination NSW), Tory Maguire (HuffPost), Gerd Schenkel (Telstra Digital) and Jamie Verco (n2n and Fuel Communications). 

Vanessa Cartwright has compiled a snapshot of the key ideas speakers shared at the event. 

Localization, personalization, and employee empowerment: Matt Trewin, General Manager – Retail & Media Communications, Telstra
Two thirds of Telstra’s 40,000 employees are interested in advocating for their company on social media, said Matt Trewin from Telstra. He revealed that Telstra and other large corporates are using social media for social engagement and empowerment. Key to this strategy is rethinking, “Who are our spokespeople?”
The move to involve employees and local communities in PR is generating personalized content, Facebook pages with local audiences, and local programs and events. According to Trewin, these trends are emerging because PR is becoming “less centrally controlled and uptight”. Trewin believes that the future will see more organizations pilot and invest in social sharing platforms that can reach clients, prospects and locals directly.

PR professionals need balance: Tiffany Farrington, Founder of Social Diary
Working in PR used to be about “money and titles”. But now it is about “work-life balance”, said Tiffany Farrington, the Founder of the Social Diary online network for PR and media.
Regardless of whether work-life balance revolves around more family time, freedom, or more time to explore personal projects, the trend towards flexible workplaces is making its mark. The United States has seen a growing phenomenon called “Summer Fridays”, where staff can leave work at about 1 or 2 pm in the afternoon. The panel also mentioned LinkedIn’s recent decision to grant its employees flexible, on-demand holidays for extended durations. Similar strategies that resound with workers’ interests may entice young professionals to stay longer than the industry average: only 18 months with one company, for junior and mid-level staff.

Perfecting tailored and branded content: Tory Maguire, Editor-in-chief, Huffington Post Australia 
Since becoming Editor-in-chief of the recently-launched HuffPost Australia, Tory Maguire has observed a growing challenge for PR: tailoring content to specific platforms.
Internal PR initiatives at the Huffington Post, in particular Partner Studio, are helping brands to attract more followers through authentic storytelling. The panel debated the newsworthiness of branded content, which for some speakers meant the ability of content to stand alone—and be engaging and shareable—if stripped of its brand message.

Evolving budgets and business models: Allison Lee, Director of Media and PR for Destination NSW 
Allison Lee foregrounded the rise of “budget-neutral news solutions” in PR. Once the exclusive domain of PR related to the travel industry, budget-neutral news is becoming widely expected, Lee said. As a result, PR firms are increasing their budgets by partnering with large corporates.
Another shift Lee observed is that more PR firms are viewing their staff as producers. This is a response to an emerging challenge for PR: developing new business models for broadcasted news based on the most engaged audiences—such as computer and tablet users—and the best return on investment.

Keeping up with consumer behaviour: Jamie Verco, Lead Partner, N2N and Fuel Communications
We live in “an era of instant everything”, said PR innovator Jamie Verco. Immediacy is making consumers more discerning. Content, therefore, needs to be more relevant and convenient than ever before. PR agencies will need to adopt a range of strategies to keep apace with consumer behaviour, including:
– diversifying agencies’ services to solve complex and non-traditional communications problems
– increasing agencies’ scale and networks of relationships
– developing professionals with world-class, specialist skills
– evolving agency structures to have a client-centric focus, and
– being open to new forms of communication and publication.

Audience insights
Audience members at the Creating the Future of PR forum were asked to describe in a few words their vision of the key issues and opportunities shaping the future of PR. Here is the “word cloud” they generated through Twitter-to-screen live interaction:

Across the diversity of ideas expressed at the event, PR professionals proved to be sanguine about the future they are helping to create. The opportunity to reflect upon this future and the quality of the ideas shared made the Creating the Future of PR forum a standout event.

Vanessa Cartwright is a freelance writer, researcher and editor for a variety of publications, including the Inside Enterprise business journal and the South Sydney Herald. A version of this article originally appeared on Creating The Future of PR

Image source for the featured image: Daniel Wehner 

Monday, 17 August 2015

The 7 deadly sins of Instagram for PR

Drew Hubbard explores the seven most deadly sins for PR’s when it comes to using Instagram. Follow PR Daily on Twitter: @PRDaily

You know this, but it bears repeating: Your brand should be on Instagram.

It's not too late—as long as you know what you're doing.

It's disturbing to watch sophisticated brands make rookie mistakes. Like any social network, Instagram must be learned. The following guide can teach you the ropes. If you're committing any of the gaffes below, please stop. Make Instagram a better place:

1. Advertising in other people's comments
Self-promotion is tricky. After all, you're on Instagram to promote your brand, right?
Like most social networks, Instagram is more complicated than that. You need to invest time and energy to cultivate an audience by building goodwill in the community.
One of the fastest ways to anger Instagram users (and lose followers) is to leave an irrelevant, annoying comment like, "Want to earn BIG $$$ with no work? RIGHT now??" on someone's post.

2. Posting inconsistent content
The most popular Instagram posts have clear messages. "Behind the scenes with your favorite celebrity" is probably the most used angle, but many accounts have great success by using other immediately understandable angles for their messages.
An account that only posts photos of weird-looking pumpkins is much easier to understand and share than one that posts random snapshots. Your brand should send clear messages on all online channels, anyway.

3. Begging for likes or followers
Begging sometimes works. Say you are an agency charged with building an Instagram account, and your only metric for success is total followers. Begging will probably achieve that goal, but you'll annoy many people. If it's worth damaging your brand, go for it. But you'll degrade your audience, consisting of users who don't mind shamelessness.

Be aware that most Instagram users don't like those who post, "Yo, dude! Follow me for awesome pics!!" in the comments. It's irrelevant and adds nothing to the conversation.

4. Ignoring comments
Instagram is a social network, so if you're not social, you miss the point. When people comment on one of your posts, they speak to you. Respond like the polite, interesting person you are. And since you speak on behalf of your brand, judiciously bring the brand into the conversation.

5. Not using hashtags
Hashtags are Instagram's backbone. They organize content and help users discover content. But hashtags can be awkward at first. It might feel silly to tag every fifth word in your caption, but if those tags place your post in a content category, it was the right thing to do.

If you don't tagging your posts, start. To familiarize yourself with hashtags, Google the most popular tags, and click through them on Instagram. Notice how popular accounts use them, and follow suit.

6. Posting other people's images without credit
This is obvious, but people still do it.
I guess if you post uncredited work, you probably don't care much about my advice.
Instagram doesn't have a mechanism for re-sharing content, so users often turn to third-party apps that watermark content as re-posted. Responsible users also tag the creator in the post's caption.
Users usually encourage re-posting since their content reaches a wider audience, but re-using other people's photos without credit is creepy. You'll be exposed as an image thief, and you'll suffer mass unfollows.

7. Buying followers
You can buy new followers pretty cheaply. Sometimes buying followers might make sense; for example, you launch an account that quickly needs to looks legitimate. The quality of bought followers will be terrible. They won't care about your content or like or comment on your posts.

Buying followers doesn't make sense long-term. The point of Instagram is to build rapport with a new audience. Buying followers only means a larger number on your profile page.

Drew Hubbard is a social media and content marketing strategist and owner of Foodie Content Studios. A version of this article originally appeared on iMedia Connection.

What’s the Best Time to Post on Facebook?

Meltwater’s Karen Uyenco explains that the best time the best time to post on Facebook is when your audience is on Facebook. Follow Meltwater on Twitter: @meltwater

One of the most frequently asked questions about social media marketing is: What is the best time to post on Facebook?

When we Google this question, we find that there are slews of experts and insiders offering definitive answers. Some say weekdays are the best time to post on Facebook, others say weekends. One narrows down optimal posting time to Wednesdays at 1 p.m., another swears by Thursdays and Fridays at 4. Whose advice should you follow?

The Best Time to Post on Facebook Is When Your Audience Is on Facebook


Luckily, you no longer have to take anyone’s word for it. Facebook now provides easy-to-use analytics tools so each of us can track the behavior of our page’s visitors and determine the best time to post on Facebook based on our specific audience. After all, there are a lot of people on Facebook and they don’t all follow the same schedule. The best time to post on Facebook depends on who you are trying to reach and how you are trying to engage them.

Best Time to Post on Facebook.jpg


Accessing Facebook Insights

  1. Log into your Business Manager
  2. Click on Insights > Posts > When Your Fans Are Online
  3. Take a look at the Days chart. If you’re a small business with limited time for producing and publishing Facebook content, you’ll want to post on days that the majority of your audience logs in.
  4. Take a look at the Times graph to zero-in on specific times of day.

Experimenting with the Data

You may need to go through a few rounds of trial and error before you feel like you’re synching up with your audience and getting maximum value from your posts. Here are some things to try:
Experiment #1: For one week, post Facebook content only on your top two or three most visited days. Compare engagement on those days with the engagement you’re used to getting. Does it help to post content only on these high-audience days? If not, try again. Post a day before high-audience days, as Facebook posts tend to peak anywhere between a few hours to a day later. Again, compare results and take note.
The next step is to test out the best times of day for posting. If you click on your “best” days, you’ll see a dark blue line indicating peak audience times for that specific day.
Experiment #2: Test publishing your content during those peak times. Then test again by posting a few hours before the peak. Compare results.
Please note that these times are unique to your fan base and will probably fluctuate. They may even change from month to month—so check back often, test, and keep optimizing.

What Content Should You Post?

Now that you’ve got the hang of using Facebook Insights, it’s important to remember that while timing is important, it isn’t everything. What time you publish your posts won’t matter all that much if your audience simply isn’t interested in what you have to say.

Doug Karr of Marketing Tech Blog explains that the best time to post on Facebook is “when you have time and have something of value to share.” Facebook Insights comes in handy once again in helping us determine what content our audience responds to most.

Rank Your Posts by Performance

Below “When Your Fans Are Online,” under the heading “All Posts Published,” you’ll find posts from the past three months listed in chronological order. You can click on the inverted arrow to the very right above the chart to view your posts by various engagement performance criteria. If you want them ranked by engagement, just click on the engagement column header to sort.
  • Post Clicks/Likes, Comments, and Shares: See which posts received the most overall engagement. This ranking includes “visible” forms of engagement that your audience can also keep track of (likes, comments, shares) because Facebook shows them next to each post. It also includes “behind the scenes” forms of engagement such as clicking on links, hashtags, and photos embedded in your post.
  • Likes, Comments & Shares: Remove “Post clicks” to simply see “visible” engagement.
  • Post Hides, Hides of All Posts, Reports of Spam, and Unlikes of Page: See which posts led to negative engagement, or actions that caused you to lose audience members and brand visibility.
  • Engagement Rate: Rank your posts by the percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it. It’s possible that a post on this list wasn’t seen by as many people, but the people who saw it were more like to engage with it. If so, you’ll want to promote similar posts in the future to a wider audience.
Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 10.16.50 AM.png


Some Questions to Keep in Mind

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you figure out what your audience is most receptive to.
  • What type of content does my audience respond to: text (in the form of status updates), links, photos, or videos?
  • Do they most enjoy curated or original content?
  • What subjects capture their attention: news, product updates, tips, promotional deals, contests?
  • Do they only have time for short and snappy, or do they prefer to dig into meatier content?
  • Does my audience respond better to a formal or a more casual casual tone?
Being able to answer these questions will help you maximize your Facebook presence and deliver content that your audience wants to see. Coupled with what you’ve discovered about the best time to post on Facebook, you can now ensure that you’re giving your audience what they want, when they want it. Give it a try and share a comment below on how it went.