STORYTELLING is a CRAFT...you have to have a PASSION for capturing, telling, and sharing stories. This blog is dedicated to that craft. What is your story? We are listening.
I have you noticed video auto-playing in Facebook when using your laptop, desktop computer, or even your mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. I have noticed the these auto-play videos on my iPad, iPhone, and my desktop using my MacBookPro.
The videos that are auto-playing are those uploaded directly to Facebook. This auto-play initiative is also a part of Facebook’s Premium Video Ads offering set to release to brands this fall, possibly October.
Video auto-plays were released in September 2013 with the goal to mirror, or closely resemble, the Instagram video and Vine experience. So this leads me to what type of video content might actually work using this new Facebook offering.
When you scroll through the news feed and a video auto-plays, the audio does not play…just the video. The only way to hear the audio of a video is to stop scrolling and click the video. The audio then starts playing.
So this is an indicator of visual cues…how can you stop someone from scrolling and intrigue them enough to click to play a video without sound?
Take a look at this video created by Mashable.com. This video auto-played when I was scrolling through my newsfeed, catching my attention. Why…the motion graphics and animation caught my attention.
I am a big fan of motion graphics and videos that utilize motion graphics to engage the audience. One of the reasons, you can tell a story visually if the person cannot hear the audio. I like to encourage video producers to not only create visually compelling messages but also videos that can stand alone if you could not hear the audio.
I have been recommending our clients create short videos for Facebook that include motion graphics. Why? When someone scrolls though their newsfeed, the motion graphics will catch their attention. This will stop them to want to click and explore. Then, include a link in the status update so the audience can watch the whole video or read more.
Short pieces of video content on Facebook I think can be a big win, if executed properly. Specifically, creating attention grabbing visual content that catches peoples’ attention then driving them to an action. If you read the release from Facebook surrounding their Premium Video Ads…you will see they are limiting the length to 15 seconds. I think this is smart. I think they have to include some visual cue, using motion to stop people and force them to explore.
Facebook just released the newest app in both iOS and Android which bows allow you to see video content in auto-play mode. What does this mean?
As you scroll down your news feed (via your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, and other mobile devices), video that was uploaded directly to Facebook will now auto play in the news feed. This means, when you scroll down the news feed to check out all the stories…you will notice a video might start playing. But, you will notice it does this in silently.
Many people have voiced both positive and negative reviews surrounding videos auto-playing when clicking onto a website. Lots of the feedback, mainly negative, specifically addressing the sound during the auto-play.
Other groups are experimenting with auto-play of video like Vimeo with their mobile apps. The Vimeo app on the iPad would auto-play your feed videos when scrolling, catching your attention with the motion of the video. This is the idea I think Facebook is trying to capture.
Here is what makes this awesome…allowing people to explore rich media that they normally would not if the video was paused. By auto-playing the video, consumers see the motion as they scroll through the feed…potentially stopping to watch the whole video. This will be huge for communicators/marketers/digital strategist.
This only works when you upload video directly to Facebook…hence another reason they are trying to encourage individuals to use Facebook as a video distribution channel. This will not work with any video links posted from outlets like YouTube, Vimeo, Vine…etc.
With the competition between Instagram, Vine, and YouTube trying to leverage people with their video distribution capabilities…Facebook recognizes they are the ones how hold the key to the mass audience. So…why not jump into the game.
“If Facebook can make auto-play video feel like a natural part of the feed, it could unlock a new level of proficiency in consuming the world.
Auto-play could give us quick windows into our friends lives that are almost as easy to skim as photos but much more evocative. News outlets could serve up footage from major events happening around the world or recent sports highlights. Imagine watching an epic interception returned for a touchdown silently filling you feed with a remarkable athletic achievement that you might not have clicked and waited to load, but you’re happy to see. And if you want to hear the hits and announcer’s commentary, one click and it’s like you’re watching television.
And that might be the goal of Facebook video. To combine the vividness of TV with the efficiency of reading.”
Here is the one area Facebook really needs to get their act together…offering analytics for video inside their branded pages. If you can combine the opportunity for exploration of rich video via auto play along with an analytics package for communicators/marketers/digital strategist, their will be big play with big brands.
The Final Challenge:
As content marketers…are we pushing too much stuff from our branded pages onto Facebook? We are seeing a shift in demographics, shift in privacy, shift in closeness of this community, and a shift in the Facebook algorithms. Are people wanting less or more rich content? Or do they want rich content from people and brands they trust?
Have you noticed the new five star Facebook rating system? It popped up on one of GHS’s Facebook pages this week (GHS Life Center’s Page).
It looks like Facebook just released this new system and they are testing it out on certain pages. TechCrunch reported this new deal on November 7, 2013:
“Using a star system for place and page ratings isn’t entirely new; Facebook has been collecting star ratings from users on the desktop and via local search for quite a while now, and also seeking star ratings on content and apps via Timeline. What is new is making this information explicitly displayed on the social network itself, in a prominent place on a business or place Page.
This shift, if it moves from the testing phase to general adoption, has a couple major implications for Facebook users. First, for general members, it provides an increased degree of sentiment information surrounding places and content that goes well beyond the simple off/on attribute of the Like. “
For businesses, it’s not clear yet whether displaying this rating will be optional or mandatory, but if Facebook is making a play to compete with the Yelps, Foursquares and Angie’s Lists of the world when it comes to local discovery and service recommendations, it would make sense that they are required by default. That could mean a considerable shift in how businesses use FB, with more emphasis placed on customer service versus just maintaining a presence on the network. Likes are easy, after all, but getting users to fill up that star bar will require a lot more effort and interaction.”
Here is the comment from Facebook:
“We’re extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop – to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them. This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.
As you may recall, star ratings launched in early 2012 with the introduction of Nearby on mobile. Now we’re bringing the visibility of star ratings to a more prominent spot at the top of Pages’ timeline on desktop and to the preview in News Feed.”
I just read an OPED on Mashable.com today, it’s title: “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook”. Yep…things are changing. Let’s look at a few statements in the article that peaked my interest. This article is from the viewpoint of a 13 year old. Her name is Ruby Karp.
“Facebook is losing teens lately, and I think I know why.
Part of the reason Facebook is losing my generation’s attention is the fact that there are other networks now. When I was 10, I wasn’t old enough to have a Facebook. But a magical thing called Instagram had just come out … and our parents had no idea there was an age limit. Rapidly, all my friends got Instagrams.
Now, when we are old enough to get Facebook, we don’t want it. By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram.”
Yes…and there are so many other reasons why teenagers are migrating away. None of their friends are using Facebook. Why? There is no community for this generation.
Ruby continues: “This leads me into my next point: Although I do have a Facebook, none of my other friends do. My friends just thought it was a waste of time. I decided to get a Facebook just to see what it was all about. I soon discovered that Facebook is useless without friends. My only friend is, like, my grandma.”
Her next point peaks my interest. She beings to examine the idea of surveillance. She explains parents spend so much time on Facebook, some of which to monitor what their children are doing. As a communication consultant, I remember having a Facebook training session for a group of hospital marketing/pr staff members. The main reason they attended, to figure out how to watch what their children were doing, with who, and where.
“Let’s say I get invited to a party, and there’s underage drinking. I’m not drinking, but someone pulls out a camera. Even if I’m not carrying a red Solo cup, I could be photographed behind a girl doing shots. Later that week, the dumb-dumb decides to post photos from that “amazing” party. If my mom saw I was at a party with drinking, even if I wasn’t participating, I’d be dead. This isn’t Facebook’s fault, but it happens there.”
So who is the average user on Facebook? Buffer’s blog shares some demographics. “According to the research, it’s a young, 25 year-old woman, living in a big city, with a college degree and a household income of more than $75k a year.”
Above are some interesting statistics from Pew Research Center surrounding the Landscape of Social Media Users. Once again, look at the breakdown of social users and their choice of social media outlets.
With all this said, I think there is a unique separation between the Generation Z (born after 2000) and the Millennials (Generation Y). The Millennials look like they might be last generation of Facebook diehards. But…these diehards, the supporters of this social network that brought them together are slowly departing. They are tired of the “drama” and being overly exposed to the world.
Here is an interesting commentary on YouTube between a group of young professionals. They fall into the Millennial generation.
At :37 seconds into the video, the young man says, “There is always going to be something new.” And this is point of this blog post. We as communicators have to understand that Facebook taught us to adapt from our “traditional” mode of marketing/pr communication. And once again, it is going to teach us that we have to continue to evolve and stay true our goals as practitioners. We are communication practitioners and not technicians.
The moment we put all our eggs into one communication basket, we will be taught once again that this communication paradigm is going to shift once again.
You see this…yes, this is being passed around online. All over Facebook, people are sharing this…FAST. I think this one image has been shared over 187K times, and we are eating it up and sharing it faster than some funny YouTube video. The viral effect of social conspiracy theory has invaded our online space like funny looking martians…and the idea we are being watched by big brother is ALL AROUND.
Guess what…it is not a conspiracy.
Here is another one of my favorites that people are sharing on Facebook:
“PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.
You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.
The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE”
People are copying and pasting this into their status’s faster than their internet connection will allow them. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.
This is what I know:
1 – Big brother is watching us –> Google Maps
2 – Facebook is FREE
3 – Facebook is monetizing our data
4 – Twitter is FREE
5 – Twitter is monetizing our data
6 – Google is FREE
7 – Google is monetizing our data
8 – Elvis is STILL ALIVE…maybe?
9 – I just used Google to search “Is Elvis still alive?”
OK…back to the important discussion…
Who the heck are we to use something like Facebook, Twitter, Google and sit back an expect them not to monetize it. When we sign-up, we knowingly accept the fact that we are uploading content, pictures, impressions, etc. and it is going to be used/leveraged to generate their income.
Are we that naive or has Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other online media outlets leveraged the fact that we want more for nothing, while they make it harder for us to opt-out of leveraging our information.
How many people do you know upload all their pictures to Facebook as a primary storage device. Specifically they use Facebook as their photo album. Each picture takes space, it takes bandwidth, it has an ecological impact on our local environments…the data centers that support this information. We as consumers pay NOTHING for this…NOTHING. We are getting so much for NOTHING and yet we expect the businesses who spend billions to support these infrastructures not leverage that information to generate revenue.
When is the last time you gave away all your intellectual power and knowledge for free. Yes, you probably donate your time and energy to certain causes, non-profits, churches, initiatives, etc. But could you do that full time…NO. You have to pay the mortgage, gas, electricity, etc. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
The social documentary is alive and well in the social space(s). So let’s look at the statistics of usage in this free market of online spaces:
Twitter (Stats by Mediabistro.com)
By September 2011, we were tweeting 33 billion tweets per day and 11 Twitter accounts are created every second with 1 million accounts added every day. Guess what…$259 million dollars in projected ad revenue for 2012.
Facebook (Stats by SearchEngineJournal.com)
Let’s look at Facebook…250 million photos uploaded daily with 845 million active users that have led to 100 billion connections. Facebook users average 2.7 billions “Likes” each day, 37 million “Pages” with 10 or more “Likes”, and 20 minutes spent per visit. In 2011, Facebook make $1 Billion dollars with Zynga games accounting for 12% of that total revenue.
Google (Information from StatisticBrain.com and Larry Page’s Blog)
How about Google…last year there were 1.7 Trillion searches with an average of 4.7 billions searches per day. YouTube has over 800 million monthly users uploading over an hour of video per second. Chrome has over 200 million. There are over 350 million people using Gmail and over 5,000 new businesses and educational establishments now sign up every day.
Each day we add to the social conspiracy, we use these outlets to share at the expense of them driving their revenue dollars. Our content, our time and their infrastructure, their revenue. We pay for this service with our content, that is our investment. As an investor, we should openly, knowingly understand how they use our data and use these networks appropriately.
The conspiracy theory is true…they are using our time, energy, content, and effort to generate billions. Just quit freaking out about it and know what you are paying for…each second and each time you use these outlets.
I am always thinking through how to find new ways to share stories and funneling like minded people to your story. The digital road map is important, especially when you have many communities online and great stories to tell. The goal is get people to share…basically take part in digital word-of-mouth.
For the last few years, I had the opinion that you should always make your website your mothership…but recently I have really began reconsidering this opinion. For one thing, it is all about audience! But…the delivery mechanism/channel is always a part of this equation…which leads me broaden my opinion with some new options.
If you look at this diagram…you will see that the information and audience flow is to build communities based on content/information in your social/digital spaces…driving them to your mothership (website). This is a simplistic view of how a B2C organization can capture audiences, distribute information, build conversation, and drive traffic back to the mothership. But what and how is a traditional website really serving your audiences especially in the world of dynamic content?
I am finding more and more people are using social outlets as their mothership, to capture and engage audiences then direct them to a final destination for final information. But, if the final spot is your website…what are we doing to deliver the information that provides the return on engagement? Why not keep them in the dynamic content area, where the community is thriving.
Two years ago, Sally Foister of Greenville Hosptial System looked at me and said something that has stuck with me…every B2C organization should a Facebook presence. Five years ago, that statement was applied to every B2C organization should have a website. Now the trick is to drive traffic to a destination point that is not the end destination but a dynamic portal that continually engages the audience with some action.
We are going to see some interesting movement in 2012 especially with Facebook planning a $100 Billion IPO. Let’s consider some stats surrounding Facebook:
- 800 Million Users
- 1 Trillion Page Views
- October 2011 – Facebook reached more than half (55 percent) of the world’s global audience and accounted for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world and 3 in every 4 social networking minutes. (via ComScore.com)
So instead of thinking in terms of driving traffic to one mothership…how about funneling traffic through Facebook. Basically use Facebook as the community funnel of information, capturing the audience in one dynamic, community driven hub.
So let’s look at some of the reasons, well I mentioned the statistics above.
First - One of the first reasons is the Timeline which has aimed to make Facebook the destination for all media. People are able to dynamically post all types of media right inside the Facebook Timeline making it easier to interact with the media and the community that surrounds the person/brand that posts the media.
Second - The Insights area for brand pages. The Insights tool provides publishers who use Facebook plugins with analytics on how content is performing. Now they can see those analytics in real time. You can see how “Like” button’s perform and the interactions based on demographics,which may enable site owners to target specific audiences.
Third - The Ticker which is the update to the News Feed. This serves as a “real-time feed of activity away from Facebook. Taken in tandem, these updates indicate Facebook’s growing desire to be to discovery what Google is to search — that is, the market leader for the new dominant form of currency on the web.” Facebook does not want to be a creator of media, they want to be the ultimate curator of media.
Fourth - The idea of expanding Gestures. They want to expand the “Like” button to developers allowing them to create concepts like “Watched, ” Listened,” Read,” and other buttons. “These actions are the next step in integrating Facebook with every part of the web. It’s possible you’ll be able to click a Facebook “Challenge” button that would let you post a game challenge on your friend’s wall, or a “Cheer” button that would let you support your friends when they need it. And yes, you could theoretically create a “Dislike” button through Facebook’s new initiative.” (via Mashable.com)
So for this model of the Community Funnel to work, you have to build a solid Facebook Community, give the community a reason to engage with one another, invite more friends, and make it easy and for the community to talk about you online.
The idea behind the community funnel is to build solid communities outside of Facebook, drive the communities to engage in Facebook, and given them a reason to want to find more information inside your mothership (web properties). Twitter, YouTube, and E-Newsletters are entry-point communities that can expose individuals to content. Then you drive this community to engage with more like-minded individuals within your Facebook presence.
Links and references used in this blog post:
*** Image from MindFireInc.com
In an article by the Orange & White, Clemson University’s President James Barker looks at Social Media from a different position. He is looking at the strong tie between academics and athletics by using the main university Facebook fan page growth during the football season.
Question from reporter: “Are athletics and academics at odds?
“We are not going to choose between one or the other. We are going to be strong in both, and, in fact, where one is strong, it helps make the other strong. The number of applications this year are up and hopefully attributed to our success academically, but I’m fairly sure some factor in that is a result of the football team. Applications are up five percent. They were up last year, too, but not that much … Our Facebook fans number at 84,000 and increased 1,000 per week during football season. That gives us some idea of the exposure football gives to us … I think success between the two is linked together.”
Interesting comparison especially when you are looking for ways to show success in numbers. Facebook here is the barometer of measurement for some indicator of success.
CLICK HERE to read the complete article by the Orange & White.
CLICK HERE for Clemson University’s Main Facebook Page.
Social media outlets of 2011 are just loosing the “socialness.” Twitter is turning into the AP Newswire for the consumer, Facebook is turning into free websites for businesses, and YouTube is turning into a barrage of content all competing for attention. Yes…48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.
Google+ gave everyone hope that this new social outlet would provide a closer-nit experience…with less amplification and more connection. But people forgot about Google+ as fast as we ran to jump on board.
The friends I used to connect with via Twitter now do not respond to @replies and emails…so sometimes we connect…maybe?
So here is what I think…the people that drove the Social Media Revolution got jobs. Yes…those people that advocated this social space over two years ago were the same people looking for work and business opportunities. They now have a routine and it is not about connecting online.
More and more people are just broadcasting. Just pushing brand information through their personal social channels. Now we have individual faces that represent brands without the individual conversation the brand is hoping to utilize. Influencers…what is that in the social space. Maybe those who have large numbers of followers are not really influencing the right audiences online…just influencing people that really have no influence at all.
Just chalk much of this social experience to the infiltration of the marketing minds spamming consumers with too much information. For heavens sakes…we are having to re-think how we connect with our families online. Each time we log on to another outlet, we are tracked and recorded as marketing numbers…providing rich information about our purchasing practices. The digital divide is slowly “filling in” with those individuals marginalized based on access to technology now have access with faster connections over the telecom networks.
We are striving to find closed spaces that we can connect with friends, yet not share who/how/when we are connecting and building relationships.
The one thing that gives me hope is the world of blogging. It is still a place to share our thoughts and minds in a potentially low profile situation..even though it is a public space. It is a lot easier to manage an anonymous blog than an anonymous Facebook or Twitter account.
Another place that gives me hope are practices and communities created through hashtags on Twitter. This allows individuals to join a conversation surrounding a simple word/phrase instead of having to follow a particular brand or person. There is still levels of influence built into digital conversations similar to those using hashtag communities, but this movement is still growing.
Word of mouth is still king in the world of marketing and the world of print is starting to find value again. Maybe we will see a swing…not sure. Well, privacy settings are supporting these offline movements like traditional outlets and word-of-mouth. The leaders in the industry like Facebook are creating more and more privacy settings. What does that mean…people are demanding to be more and more private. The larger the audience…the more people can see your socialness…the more people want to protect their information.
We marketers are taking the social out of the media…and making it just another measurable outlet.
I have one question…why must we do “Like” campaigns? Why?
Maybe I am little skeptical of this practice….but I have found more and more organizations creating “Like” campaigns for Facebook and that is it. So here is my next question…what happens after the people “Like” your page? Do you spend the same, if not more, time invested in the longterm conversation as you did trying to get them to click the button.
So many gimmicks, so many ploys, so many promises, so many give aways…but what are people going to “Like” after the “Like” button is clicked? Are you going to push your marketing campaign, your consistent updates that bring no value you the feed? Or do you disappear once they do “Like” your page?
We work so hard on numbers…let’s get those numbers up. But what about the community and the long-term conversation. This is a social space right? Do you overload people with your updates that as soon as they “Like” they click “Hide” the next day?
“Like” campaigns are the same Opt-In campaigns for newsletters and blogs. Get people to give information or commit to receiving content. But is your content “King” or do you build online relationships that lead to digital word-of-mouth?
Do you have a monthly or quarterly newsletter. How did you get the email addresses? So how many people open your newsletter emails? 30%, 20%, 10%, or even 5%? So why are you not getting a larger percentage. Why are the other 70% – 95% not reading? Are you just delivering content or are you engaging a conversation? The “Like” campaign is the same thing…we do everything possible to get people to “Like” our page but have a hard time keeping people engaged?
Yeah…Yeah…Yeah…I know there is case-study after case-study showing the success of “Like” campaigns. Just get them to “Like” your page and all is solved. But what happens after the “Like”? Do they hide you or forget about you? Or did they just “Like” you to get that 10% off coupon they might remember to use?
***Image from VerticalMeasures.com
I have met with more physician practices and pediatrician groups who want to start a Facebook page specifically for flu season. They explain the main reason is to share information about flu season with their patientes. So…is this really the right reason to start a page, or even the right time?
Based on the CDC’s website: “In the Northern hemisphere, winter is the time for flu, but the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks in January or later.” Given this information, we have entered into flu season with it potentially peaking during the winter months, more specifically peaking in February.
So, should you use this as an opportunity to start a Facebook Page for your practice for flu season? Well, here are some things to think through:
- Are you going to use this Facebook page for more than information about flu season?
- Do you think you have enough time to get all your patients to “Like” the page so they can receive information about 2011-2012 flu season.
- Exactly what are you going to share about flu season on a weekly basis, information that people are willing to have this show up on their personal Facebook newsfeed?
- How else is your practice communicating information about flu season and what tools are you using? (website, newsletter, brochures, in-office communication)
- How are you going to use Facebook to build a social community around your practice outside of flu season?
- Do you have time to commit to maintaining the Facebook page, to specifically connect with your patients?
- Is your practice a part of a hospital system? If so, can you leverage their Facebook community to share information about flu season?
Bottomline…it is never “too late” to start a Facebook page. But, you have to think through how you want to use this social outlet beyond flu season and if you have the time and resources to connect with your patients using this social outlet.
Here are some great links about about flu season from the CDC’s wesbite:
- What to expect from the 2011-2012 Flu Season: CLICK HERE
- Information about the flu vaccine from FLU.gov: CLICK HERE
- CDC’s information about the flu vaccine: CLICK HERE
- CDC’s Twitter account dedicated to the flu season: @CDCFlu
- How-to set-up a Facebook page by Mashable.com: CLICK HERE