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Social Media

Ditto Finds New Way to Observe Customer-Brand Interactions

“Ditto” is a way to quickly show support and agreement for something that someone has said. Well, I say “ditto” to what the company Ditto Labs, Inc. is saying and doing. Ditto Labs is a startup that was built on technology from MIT-trained computer scientists. Ditto’s photo-analytic software scans public photos on social media platforms and recognizes facial expressions, products, clothing, logos, brands, and scenes.

This data can help companies see how customers are actually using their products, when they are using the products, and what other products are being used in conjunction with their product. This will help marketers get a better feel for how to market the product or brand. Ditto can also give ideas about sponsorships or partnerships with companies that are mentioned alongside the target product or brand.

Ditto can be used to engage directly with those who post photos of your brand. This is an easy way to find and communicate with people who are passionate about your product or service. Further, you can ask these consumers if you can use the best photos in galleries and marketing campaigns. Ditto also provides an easy way to ad-target. Many customers do not follow brands on social media even if they use the brand’s products. Ditto can give your company a list of people who share photos with your brand, and then you can target those customers specifically to engage them on social media. Here is a video to demonstrate more of what Ditto can do.

Ditto recently made a presentation at the Innovations Insights eXchange (IIeX) conference in Atlanta that showcased which brands were connected to other brands. Unsurprisingly, Coke was the most often and most connected brand. Car brands are not highly connected to each other, but are often found in pictures with beverage brands, perhaps due to sponsorships. Alcohol and soda brands are often mentioned together, specifically whiskey and coke. These key insights are part of why Ditto can be influential in the marketing world. To look closer at their presentation, you can view their slideshare here. Always on the lookout for new ways to research and gain information for clients, I think Ditto might be an innovative way to glean insights from consumers’ everyday lives.

Instant Articles: Facebook's Publishing Platform

Facebook has now launched a new feature called “instant articles.” These articles are provided by sources like BBC, National Geographic, or Buzzfeed and are more immersive and interactive than what is currently on your newsfeed. Not only does this new platform allow for content to load “instantly,” well maybe not instantly but it is much faster, but it also allows for zooming in on a picture, hearing the author narrate the caption, and auto-play videos. Facebook hopes that Instant articles are going to change the way we interact with content. Instead of clicking on a link, going to the National Geographic article, and only seeing a large picture without much detail, instant articles gives readers the ability to immerse themselves in the article in a more interactive way. By using auto-play videos, zoomed in pictures, and narrated captions, readers will experience the content in a new approach. Facebook has enabled their nine current partners (The New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel Online, and Bild) to keep track of audience metrics and to keep their current advertisements on the articles. Thus, instant articles could be good news for the publishers. The content will likely have more engagement while still maintaining audience metrics and their own advertisements. To see the first instant article from the New York Times, follow this link.

Instant articles is not the only new innovation coming from Facebook. Recently, Facebook announced they’re going to ‘up the ante’ with their buying and selling pages. Currently, people that are part of these buy and sell pages are able to post a location, description, price, and photos about the item for sale. Now, Facebook is moving to the next level. Facebook is introducing a new “all sales groups” option for users. A user belonging to multiple buying and selling groups can now see items for sale from all groups in one convenient place. This new page also hosts a search bar so that you can easily see who has a “sofa” or “coffee table” available. This page is putting Facebook in direct competition with companies like eBay and Craigslist. It will be interesting to see how consumers feel about purchasing goods via Facebook and if this innovation will drive consumers away from eBay or Craigslist. According to The Next Web, Facebook will be testing this new page soon. 

Facebook has always been an innovative company, so these new advances are no surprise. It will be interesting to see where Facebook goes in the future – whether it’s faster video content, additional service pages, more partners for instant articles, or virtual reality, we will be waiting to see what Facebook does next.

Social Media Is Social, Not Promotional

About a quarter of small businesses use some form of social media marketing, but many say their efforts haven't lived up to their expectations in terms of attracting new customers according to a poll from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. As detailed in this eMarketer story, 42% of those that use social media say they have received sales leads from Facebook. Twitter brings up the rear, with only 16% of small-business social-media users saying they've received sales leads through using it.

I’m not surprised that a lot of businesses are not seeing sales from their social media efforts. Social Media is 'social' media, not 'sales' media. Social media can be great for raising the profile of a company or service, it is not an advertising medium. It is a conversation. It is good for informing people about the personality of your company and interacting with your customers. You also need to be the type of business that people want to interact with on a regular basis. If you’re a clothes hound, you might want to follow and learn more about Bluefly. However, I’m not sure how many people really want to be friends or a fan of funeral home or crematorium

Quo Vadis Twitter

Rasmussen Reports has a few interesting notes on Twitter users in their June 24th release.

Just nine percent (9%) of Americans say they actually have a Twitter account. Seventy-one percent (71%) have read, seen or heard about Twitter.com, but an overwhelming majority (88%) of adults do not have an account.

Adults ages 18 to 39 are more likely to be Twitter users than those who are older. Those who earn $75,000 or more per year are more likely to have a Twitter account than those who earn less.

Apparently, Twitter is a lot like talk radio. Only a small portion of listeners ever call radio talk shows and it appears that only a small portion of Twitter users frequently post to the site.

Twenty percent (20%) send a tweet several times a month, while 11% post one several times a week. Only nine percent (9%) say they tweet nearly every day or several times a day.