Visual outperforms text when it comes to social media engagement

According to a new study from M Booth and  Simply Measured, visual content is not only taking over the digital and social media landscape, it’s also outperforming all other mediums when it comes to engagement!

  1. Videos are shared 12X more than links and text posts combined on Facebook
  2. Photos are liked 2X more than text posts on Facebook
  3. 48% of all Tumblr posts are photos.
  4. On YouTube, 100 million users are liking, sharing or commenting on videos every week.
  5. Pinterest refers more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined
Graphics and videos drive engagement in social media

Reviews Are Key To Build Consumer Trust

Gaining consumer trust is an important issue for marketers seeking to ensure that they’re not scaring prospective customers away. In fact, a March to June survey of US adults conducted by About.com found that 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them or other information sources. Moreover, the study found that there were 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency.

In a social media context, customers wanted to see that brands had a significant number of positive reviews, and that they didn’t go out of their way to hide the negative ones. The survey found that 41% of respondents said the ability to see reviews on social networks added to their feeling of trust in a brand. Reviews played a bigger role in cultivating trust than seeing that friends had “liked” or recommended a brand, or that the brand had accumulated a large tally of “likes.”

Video was found to improve trust the most when it served as a complement to other types of content. This ties back in to consumers’ hunger for useful information. Brands can build trust with potential customers by demonstrating expertise through quality owned content that is also devoid of a hard sales message.

Foursquare Lets Businesses Talk to Users

Foursquare will start letting businesses capitalize on the enthusiasm of customers who’ve checked in repeatedly by rolling out a way to message them, starting today.

Through the “local updates” tool, businesses can send their updates to a pool of users who will be picked by Foursquare’s algorithm based on the frequency and recency of their check-ins and the businesses they’ve “liked” (a feature Foursquare made available with its redesign last month).

It could give the nearly 1 million businesses that have claimed their listing on Foursquare a stronger incentive to be active on the platform, since they can place messages about specials and events for free in the activity streams of users who’ve likely already spent money in their stores and had enough of an affinity to want to broadcast their visit to friends.

“Now with local updates, it’s hopefully a tool that merchants engage with every day,” said Noah Weiss, the Foursquare product manager who oversees all merchant-facing tools, who noted that users will also have the ability to opt out of receiving updates from a business.

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Social Media In Fortune 100 Companies

The third annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up analyzed the social media activity of Fortune Global 100 firms – which includes such luminaries as Ford, Sony, AT&T, Honda and Walmart – on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest in February 2012. The survey discovered that 87 percent of these companies are active on at least one social media channel, with Twitter leading the way.

Since 2011, the average number of followers for a corporate Twitter account has almost tripled, from 5,076 to 14,709.

Perhaps surprisingly, YouTube finished second in the poll, with 79 percent of Fortune Global 100 corporates now using a branded YouTube channel, compared to just 57 percent in 2010.

Facebook placed third, with 74 percent of companies having an active Facebook Page. 93 percent of corporate Facebook Pages are updated at least weekly, and the average number of Likes per Page has increased by a heady 275 percent since 2010 to 156,646.

A little under half (48 percent) of firms are now using Google+. A quarter (25 percent) of these companies have Pinterest accounts.

Overall, Fortune Global 100 organizations have an average of 10.1 Twitter accounts, 10.4 Facebook Pages, 8.1 YouTube channels, 2.6 Google+ pages and 2.0 Pinterest accounts.

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LinkedIn Adds New Targeting Options

Last October LinkedIn announced marketers would be able to post status updates to their company pages. Now the business-minded social network is adding the ability for marketers to pinpoint those posts at specific groups of followers.

Companies can target status updates based on seniority, job title, geography, company size, industry and employee tenure. “To now go out and be able to target vice-presidents of IT at companies with 500 employees and larger and send them a very specific message about enterprise software, that is a very specific message that those people have a high interest in receiving,” explained Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn’s vp of North America sales and marketing solutions.

LinkedIn has been beta-testing targeted status updates since April with 50 companies, and Lister said these posts have been broadly shared and commented upon to date, delivering more followers to the participating marketers. For instance, one of the beta customers, Salesforce, used the targeted updates to drive participation in offline events and saw a 30 percent increase in participation, Lister said.

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Savvy Social Media Users Influence Peer Purchases

For consumers, the golden rule is “buyer beware.” For marketers, it should perhaps be: “beware of socially adept consumers.” New research indicates that consumers who have used social media for service wield far greater influence among their peers.

Specifically, they tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’ would spend 21% more with companies that deliver great service — compared to 13% on average, according to the 2012 American Express “Global Customer Service Barometer.”

This relatively small group of consumers is extremely engaged and vocal, according to Jim Bush, EVP of World Service at American Express.

“They … tell three times as many people about positive service experiences compared to the general population,” he said of social media users. “Ultimately, getting service right with these social media-savvy consumers can help a business grow.”

Unfortunately for many marketers, the survey — conducted in the U.S. and 10 other countries — also reveals a sorry state of service in general.

For Brands, Social Media Shows Returns but Measurement Hurdles Remain

Executives see improvements in marketing and sales efforts, and market share gains as a result of well-planned campaigns

C-suite executives are increasingly convinced of the benefits of engaging with their customers on social media platforms. A February 2012 survey of 329 senior executives in North America by management and digital consulting firm PulsePoint Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that the vast majority of companies who had invested in social media saw a positive shift in their bottom line as a result.

Executives who said their companies had established an extensive social media presence reported a return on investment that was more than four times that of companies with little or no social network engagement activity

Companies should use social media to create spaces for consumers to have meaningful conversations with employees and other stakeholders. Almost seven in 10 respondents said they had seen a spike in their sales by letting customers talk about their brands on social media platforms, even if some of that dialogue was negative. This kind of approach builds trust and credibility with consumers, potentially transforming them into brand advocates whose value is immense, if difficult to measure.

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