As Obama’s 2008 campaign heralded a new era of political campaigning by introducing social media into the mix, the current presidential candidates are using digital technologies in groundbreaking ways. Despite Bernie Sanders’ struggles in the primary race, his success with online communications is hard to match. In many ways, it’s because of social media that many Americans now #FeelTheBern.
It’s the tragedy of the Internet: Every cool thing that makes society more interconnected is in danger of being ruined by jerks. From misogynistic attacks on Twitter to racist comments on YouTube to general profane abuse in multiplayer video games, instances of online unpleasantness have raised questions about how to give everyone the best possible experience without crossing a line of censoring free speech.
It’s a PR 101 conundrum: Charges are made against an important brand; the brand’s stature and the nature of the charges result in press coverage; the brand delays its response and a story is born. The brand then reaches out to the complainants and listens to their charges. Within a few days the brand investigates and concludes the charges are untrue. Some of the complainants agree with the brand’s assessment, while others say the investigation was faulty and demand increased transparency from the brand. The story results in many people thinking deeper about the brand and what it does. For some, the perception of the brand will change, if even just slightly.
This is a grossly simple way of looking at the story about conservative groups saying Facebook’s algorithm has been giving short shrift to stories with a conservative viewpoint. With 1 billion+ people using it each day, including 8 billion+ video views, Facebook arguably is the dominant social platform and a major component of brands’ social outreach.
Considering the rash of certain brands’ ads, not many trust the adage, “Quality over quantity.”
Perhaps a few. Facebook posts by U.S. B2C brands actually fell 13% in Q1’ 16 vs Q1’ 15, according to Shareableedata provided exclusively to PR News. Still, consumer actions with those fewer posts remained flat year vs year. Actions are the sum of likes, shares and comments. Video pulled. B2Cs saw a 60% growth in Facebook video actions on a 40% rise in video content.
Donald Trump’s use of Twitter has often influenced entire news cycles, and his proclivity for the platform is well known—often tweeting 10 times a day, once as many as 59 times in a single day. But the question remains: Is Trump actually the person behind his famously contentious Twitter presence?
Twitter is staying committed to its 140-character limit, but in an effort to free up coveted real estate the micro-blogging network announced that it will stop counting media attachments and other content towards its iconic character limit. Many of the changes will allow users to have more control over their messages by doing away with its current practice of factoring in usernames and media attachments to the total character count.
Just as compound interest can grow money quickly, Instagram posts bolster consumer actions, defined here as the sum of likes and comments. The most-engaged U.S. nonprofit on Instagram, PETA, saw Q1 2016 engagement jump 79% vs Q1 2015, although it increased posts just 17%, according to data provided exclusively to PR News by Shareablee. PETA knew what its audience wanted, posting photos of animal-loving celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio. Other posts that worked included salutes to Armani and SeaWorld for taking steps to end animal cruelty.
Brand communicators beware: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has declared open season on social media influencers who fail to disclose that they are paid for endorsing a brand’s products and services. Not only that, disclosures must take a specific form; they also should be ubiquitous in some cases.
Late last year the FTC issued a long-awaited policy statement regarding native advertising and influencers, which was a follow-up to an earlier FAQ on the topic. Not even three months after it issued the later document, it “put industry on notice,” says Allison Fitzpatrick, partner at Davis & Gilbert in its marketing, promotions and PR practice groups, by slapping a penalty on high-end retailer Lord & Taylor ( PRN, March 21).
Instagram is currently testing new analytics tools and business profiles, which will be rolling out in the coming months. Along with the heightened analytics offerings, businesses will now be able to have specialized profiles that include a contact button, access to maps and directions and categorize the business by type.
After a recent afternoon of listening to social media experts, it’s clear many of us are unknowingly interacting on virgin land on a daily basis. Certainly social media has been legitimized. Nearly every business has a social presence, as do nearly 90% of the 193 U.N. country governments and world leaders, even the Pope, a Burson-Marsteller report says.