Archive for ‘Marketing’

November 11, 2013

You are what you tweet: Researchers predict users’ gender with 92% accuracy

How often do you think about what you are telling the world about yourself when you post an update to your social media profiles? Well, it turns out that you are being studied, whether you know it or not. Earlier this fall, PLOSone published a study that aimed to link the vocabulary netizens use with their age, gender, and select personality traits. The unique twist on this study was the methodology. Instead of using known word correlations to base their analysis on, they adopted an open vocabulary approach in an attempt to “find connections that are not captured with traditional closed-vocabulary word-category analyses”.

The use of the open vocabulary approach yielded some interesting results:

1. Men are much more likely to use profanity and talk about gaming while women seem to be much more positive and upbeat. *The size of the word in the word clouds below indicates the strength of the correlation; color indicates relative frequency of usage. Underscores (_) connect words of multi-word phrases.

MenvsWomen

 

2. Your age can be determined based on whether you talk about school, work or family.

Age

 

3. Extroverts like to party, introverts like the internet, neurotics use angry and depressed language, and the emotional stable like….basketball?

PersonalityTraits

 

4. Finally, the people in your social media networks who’s updates are negative, profanity-filled, and often tiresome, may rank low on the agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness scale.

Agreeable

Beyond simply being “interesting”, these correlations will further help communicators and marketers get their message in front of the right audience – You need to know where your audience “lives” before you can influence them. Be sure to check out the full study “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” for the complete methodology and findings.

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January 31, 2013

The ONLY Super Bowl social media account you need to follow

This Sunday. 6:30 p.m. EST. Finally. For the first time since January 29, 1995, my San Francisco 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl. This is a big deal to me because the sports teams I root for typically don’t make it to the final game (Toronto Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup – 1967) ( Toronto Blue Jays last World Series 1993).

But when any of these teams were last at the big dance, social media was nowhere to be found…it just didn’t exist. Now the non-stop flow of photos, tweets, taunting, scandal, and general nonsense is almost nauseating. ESPN posted an inforgraphic about who to follow on Twitter; Hootsuite has a dashboard where you can track what quarterback has the most tweets, day-by-day; and at last check, social media mega-blog “Mashable” has 144 recent stories tagged “Super Bowl”. It can all be a bit overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, the enjoyment of these global events is enhanced by social media. I love being able to connect with fellow sports fans and chat about game. My favourite fan to connect with is the one who is actually there. Enter the Twitter account from the New Orleans Host Committee. If you are looking for one social media touch point for the big game, this is it. The @nolasuperbowl account is entirely focused on fan (user) experience, and they sure are responsive. Powered by a team of over 100 volunteers they field questions, suggest places to eat, share interesting stories about the game, promote their activities (#NFLexperience), and share photos from the festivities.

A few examples:

I’ll definitely be watching the @nolasuperbowl along with the game this weekend with a big thanks to all the volunteers that make it happen. The video below provides a decent idea about what it’s like to be inside the command centre during Super Bowl Week. It’s a recap from last year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, but it does a good job explaining what they are looking for, how they find it, and how the team of social media volunteers go about responding.

Well, I guess there’s only one thing left to say: #Go49ers #QuestForSix

UPDATE (01.31.13): As a further comment to their responsiveness, after I initially shared this post on Twitter, the @nolasuperbowl account was quick to RT. In fact, they were the first to do so.

September 5, 2012

Social Media ROI for Higher Education [Stats]

This week marks the return to classes for many students here in Canada and around the world. It’s great to see the kids skipping off to class, the school buses making their rounds, and freshmen on college campuses moving into residence, eager for new experiences. It’s also a great time for colleges and universities to connect with their students and make them feel a part of the community and, at the same time, to lay the foundation to recruit the next round of students.

I’ve worked at a post secondary institution for nearly 7 years (6 of those in the Marketing and Communications department). As the leader of our social media planning and execution strategy, I often had conversations about the return on investment (ROI) of social media. We batted around questions like: “Isn’t social media just something else to add to my to do list?”, “Why spend thousands on outdoor bus advertising when digital marketing is easier to track and less expensive?”, “How can other departments of the school take advantage of social media”, and of course “What is the ROI of social media?”

The last question bugged me the most. Maybe because it’s hard to answer, maybe because it’s the go-to question for social media non-believers, and maybe because the same people who are asking us to put a dollar figure on social media couldn’t identify the ROI with any of the other communications tools in their office. I would think, “What’s the ROI on that pen set on your desk?”, or “Explain to me the ROI of giving every employee a laptop,” or “what’s the ROI on company-specific email addresses?”

But ROI is important, and we should try to establish some benchmarks to measure our successes and failures. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research agrees, and has been watching social media usage trends at US colleges and universities since 2007. In their latest study (2011-12), their research shows that social media cuts costs for the Recruitment/Admissions Office.  Consequently, many schools are planning to increase investments in social media initiatives as a way to better reach their target audience.  Their news release highlights the following key findings:

  • Traditional media is becoming less important/used. Schools report spending 33% less on printing, 24% less on newspaper ads and 17% less on radio and TV ads. One third of schools say social media is more efficient than traditional media in reaching their target audience.
  • 92% of undergraduate admissions officers agree that social media is worth the investment they make in it and 86% plan to increase their investment in social media in the next year.
  • The most useful tools for recruiting undergraduates include Facebook (94%), YouTube (81%), Twitter (69%) and Downloadable Mobile Apps (51%).
  • Less than half of those surveyed have a written social media policy for their school.  In the 2009-10 academic year, 32% had a policy. That number increased to 44% in 2010-11, and stands at 49% in 2011-12.
  • 29% of the schools surveyed report having NO social media plan in place for their Admission Office, and an additional 15% report not knowing if there is a social media plan in place.
  • 78% of schools say that social media tools have changed the way they recruit.
  • Umass has created a rudimentary infographic with more details if you’re interested in learning more about this study.

Although these findings provide a good look at where colleges and universities stand on the marketing side of social media, there’s still work to be done to get a better picture of the post-secondary industry’s use of social media. I’d like to see further studies that focus on social media use and how it affects: student retention, customer service, campus life, and learning inside (and outside) the classroom.

July 18, 2012

Great customer service can be delivered through social media, but not by Rogers

Regular www.davidhallsocialmedia.com readers and www.talknowledgy.ca listeners know that I’m very passionate about customer service, especially when it’s delivered through social media. Earlier this year, I had a dreadful experience trying to have an issue resolved by my cable and internet provider, Rogers Communications. In the end, it took a few days of tweeting and a telephone conversation with the VP of Social Media to get things sorted out. You can read all about that experience in this post where I shared 9 ways they could improve their customer care.

Since then, I’ve had two more social media customer service experiences that are great examples of how companies take different approaches to customer service.

1. FTD and Groupon Mother’s Day Mix-up – May 2012

The Problem: I had bought a Groupon the week before Mother’s Day for 50% off at FTD Flowers. When I placed my order, I requested delivery for the Friday before Mother’s Day to allow for any delays that might occur that weekend.  When I spoke with my mother on that Sunday, the flowers had not arrived.

The Resolution: I tweeted FTD at 8:25 a.m. the next day voicing my displeasure with the missed delivery. They got back to me within half an hour, apologized for the issue, assured me they would fix it, and asked for more details. I sent in the details, and by lunch time that day, I recieved the following email:

Dear Mr. Hall,

I have received your concern regarding the non-delivery of your gift, and would like to sincerely apologize that we failed to deliver your arrangement as you had intended. I can only imagine how upset you are, and I have a beautiful arrangement being delivered as an apology on behalf of FTD as well as refunding you in full. You may contact me directly at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email xxxxx@ftdi.com.

 I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tina xxxxx

Very pleased with this response, I asked if/how I would be refunded for my Groupon purchase. Tina said she had already asked Groupon to refund my purchase, but it may take a few days for both credits to appear on my credit card.

The Aftermath: The next day, my mother received her flowers, and by the end of the week, I received a full refund from both FTD and Groupon. Just to be clear, I was not charged for the flowers that my mother eventually received.

This is how customer service is supposed to work. They seemed genuinely sorry that they messed up, and came through with a completely satisfactory resolution. I didn’t have to fight with them; I didn’t have to explain why this was a problem; I didn’t have to speak with a number of people pleading my case. They showed me that they care about customer satisfaction.

2. Rogers Internet Blackout – July 2012

The Problem: A few Sundays ago, I awoke to a lack of internet service in my house. After doing all the usual hardware and software resets and troubleshooting, I still didn’t have an internet connection. My home network was fine, just no service.

The Resolution: I tweeted @RogersHelps at 9:35 a.m. to get some help with my issue. Over 4 hours later I finally heard back from them asking “how is your internet connection today?” After I explained that my internet was still out, they told me that they’d be happy to look into it.

I thought this was a good, albeit slow, start to getting things resolved. I was then asked to do the standard “unplug and replug” the modem routine again, with no luck. They said the specs looked good from their end, so I’d have to go get a new modem from the store because my modem was broken. It was now around 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and I was not interested in making the 25km round trip to the closest Rogers store, so I figured I would go the day without internet service and bring my modem in when I went to work on Monday. But before I called it quits for the night, I asked @RogersHelps to credit my account for the service outage – I thought “If I’m not getting service, I shouldn’t be paying for it.”

This is the point it really started to go sour. I then received 4 direct messages from @RogersHelps explaining why my account would NOT be credited for the service outage.

After tweeting my frustration again, @Rogers_Chris decided to  jump in on the action and tell me what a “great job” the @RogersHelps agent did to help me. At this point, I had had enough. I cc’d Roger’s VP of Social Media in my reply tweet to @Rogers_Chris and turned in for the night. The next day I was contacted by @RogersMary, Senior Manager, Social Media Community, who started by apologizing for the “customer care” I received.

She was great. Friendly, understanding, then escalated my issue to the Office of the President. After playing phone tag with the President’s Office for a few days, they eventually agreed to communicate using email and gave me a month credit for internet service. I thanked them for this “one-time goodwill gesture” (their words, not mine), and explained that all I was looking for in the first place was NOT to be charged for the service outage, and to be treated with a little more care from their “customer care” staff.

Rogers, it just shouldn’t be this hard to satisfy a customer with a simple request. This minor issue didn’t need to go to the Office of the President. This shouldn’t have even gone past the first customer service representative. The original rep should have said “sorry about the service outage, we’re working on it. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to credit your account for any service lost because you shouldn’t have to pay for a service you are not receiving.”  All I wanted was credit for the time the service was out.  And when you make us fight for days to get what we want, it leaves us feeling that we received poor customer service.

The Fix: I wound up troubleshooting the internet outage myself. I powered down and unplugged all of my devices that were connected to the internet, including the modem and router. I then left them offline for a full hour or two. After plugging all the devices back in, and rebooting them, the internet started working…so I didn’t need to drive to the store and get a new modem after all.

June 26, 2012

YouTube shares the secrets that could make you an online video star

I recently stumbled across the YouTube Creator Playbook – a 91-page guide to producing online videos. It provides a detailed breakdown of how to create, publish, and promote great content.

Each section has an overview, details, examples, and a how-to-guide to help all of us amateur YouTubers become a little more professional. It’s quite thorough, and contains sections covering:

  • YouTube Analytics
  • Grabbing your audience with a 15-second hook
  • Calls to action
  • The importance of consistency: Releasing content at scheduled intervals
  • Tent-pole programming
  • Optimization (metadata, thumbnail, channel page, publishing, etc.)
  • Involving your audiences
  • Spreading your videos onto other social netowrks
  • Video annotations
  • Playlists and video responses
  • Video production and publishing checklists
  • And more

If you’re in the online video business, I strongly recommend this read.

BUT…If you’re in the Ottawa area this week (Wednesday, June 27th), you could also drop in on the YouTube Workshop – Create, Engage, Monetize to get some first-hand instruction directly from two senior YouTubers. This FREE event bills itself as “an informative hands-on session to understand what it takes to ‘go viral,’ reach the right audience, and ultimately monetize your content!” During the YouTube Workshop, attendees will hear personal experiences from presenters about how they were able to engage with their audience and make their channel a success. Basically, the whole event is about learning how some content creators are doing gangbusters online, and how to follow in their success.

As an added teaser, there will be a “special guest appearance” from a popular YouTube star. I asked the event organizer if they could share more details and was told “It’s someone with incredible experience using YouTube, Google+ and Google hangouts as a way to expand and monetize their brands.”

I’m definitely looking forward to this event.

More about the speakers:

Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist for YouTube, who previously worked for comScore where he managed the global sales of their video measurement service, Video Metrix. Before joining comScore, Andres worked at Next New Networks (NNN) where he went from intern, to executive producer, to partner manager. He’s most proud of recording the NNN chime that ends every NNN-distributed video (ding). Over 1 billion views and counting! Andres’s current YouTube subscriptions include ZeFrank1, Numberphile, Vsauce, and AgentXPQ.

Brandon Gross, Sr. Strategist with YouTube’s Next Lab, where he works with funded partners and identifies new talent to grow on the platform. Prior to joining YouTube, Brandon founded and was a Managing Partner at Urgent Content, the agency responsible for the award-winning Flip Video broadcast and online campaign. Prior to forming Urgent Content, Brandon was a Creative Executive and then Director of Brand Engagement at Current TV. He has produced hours of non-fiction broadcast and online television and co-created the G4 TV series, “2 Months, $2 Million.”

March 13, 2012

We are impatient and rude…and Google is to blame! [Infographic]

The infographic below (originally shared with me by @gvoakes) paints a picture of a speed-obsessed, impatient, and rude population… and I don’t think it’s far off. With astonishing numbers like:

  • Google answers 34,000 questions every second (3 billion daily Google searches)
  • 25% of people abandon web pages that take more than 4 seconds to load
  • 50% of mobile users abandon a page if it doesn’t load in under 10 seconds, and 60% of those users would never return to that site
  • 40% of mobile shoppers will abandon an eCommerce site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds

It clearly shows that we just can’t wait to get that online content. Perhaps this is because we know that we can get what we are looking for elsewhere online. If I want to buy a new Android phone online, I have virtually unlimited options – if Virgin Wireless isn’t loading quickly enough, I’ll hop over to Comcast, or Rogers, or Bell, or Cellular One. And if I’m looking for the latest news headlines, well there really is no end to where I can find this information.

But what I find the most interesting about this infographic is how this “instantly connected” feeling has changed our offline consumer behaviour. Perhaps this is because the last section of the infographic reflects elements of my own behaviour.

  • 15 minutes is the MAXIMUM time I will wait for a service
  • I have boycotted several shops and restaurants for inattentive or slow customer service
  • And I hate to say it, but I’m sure I have been rude to folks who are serving me too slow. I try to be as understanding as possible, but what’s taking so long?

What do you think? Are you one of those rude, impatient, speed-obsessed members of the “Google Generation”? Or are you happy to wait 45+ minutes to eat at Red Lobster because somethings are worth the wait?


Created by: Online Graduate Programs

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