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Category Archives: Social Media

Tag Archives: Social Media

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Brands & Publishers Tap Snapchat as the Go-To Platform For Millennials & Mobile Engagement

What first started out as a “view and delete” app between young high schoolers, Snapchat Discover has quickly become the go-to source for quick, efficient news updates with over 100 million daily users. With more than 20 top-tier publishers like The Wall Street Journal and CNN joining the innovative platform, we’re being captivated and caught asking for more from these news providers. Vanity Fair is even releasing its special Hollywood issue on SnapChat Discover today; the cover will be available to view on SnapChat exclusively for the first hour and will even provide access to the Vanity Fair Oscars Party photo booth – special content that is only being shown on this platform. The Wall Street Journal has a five-person team dedicated to creating Snapchat content that publishes eight items a day, Monday through Friday, so not only is this changing the way PR professionals are telling stories, it’s also changing the way editors and publishers are working too.

Re/code recently referred to Snapchat Discover as the “Hunger Games” since publishers are fighting for the eyes of these millennials on the app – it’s a constant competition for time. Snapchat claims to be “the best way to reach 13-34 year-olds” and dramatically changing the way we digest media. After all 13-34 year-olds are not the ones buying a physical newspaper at Starbucks or waiting until they get into their office to click open Google News. They’re on-the-go mobile users who want stories now. They go to Snapchat for that visual, storytelling appeal – Snapchat Discover puts narrative and storytelling first, not shares and click throughs. For example, publishers like Cosmopolitan and CNN are repurposing the most-read content from their websites and sharing it on Snapchat to create a dynamic viewing experience for viewers throughout the day. Some publishers are also exploring exclusive, new content created specifically for Snapchat.

With storytelling at our core as PR professionals, it is crucial to think of out-of-the-box platforms like Snapchat when telling stories – whether that’s to your customers, reporter or influencers. Quick, 15-second sound bites that are digestible and action-oriented are what will get the attention of millennials and the mobile users who are glued to their phones.

Casey Neistat spoke at a networking event I attended last week at Medium’s headquarters in San Francisco and mentioned how some of his favorite brands like Taco Bell are doing their best advertising and engagement with fans on Snapchat. The important piece Neistat mentioned is to tell your story, not just show your product alone. 

While of course brands ultimately want to promote products with the goal of driving purchases, making it a story that’s easy to follow and is attractive to the consumer is what will engage your audience. Be sure to consider Snapchat when telling your next story so you can ensure it’s reaching your preferred audience, at the right time on the right platform. 

Read more from Jillian Gerig
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Are Instagram Captions the New Blog?

You can spend hours putting together the perfect company blog post – researching, writing, editing and navigating through all those review cycles. But what good is any of that if no one is reading it? While there are company blogs that have become go-to sources for industry news and analysis, and we’d like to think InkHouse falls into that category, it’s no secret that most companies struggle to drive traffic to their blog.

So why not put your content where your audience already is? On average, Instagram users share 70 million photos per day and its per-follower engagement is 58 times higher than Facebook and 120 times higher than Twitter. And I’m not just talking about pictures, I’m talking about converting your blog content into long-form Instagram captions.

In November, New York Magazine wrote a piece about lifestyle bloggers and celebrities like Dwayne Johnson who use Instagram as a blogging platform, taking advantage of the app’s personal and artistic feel to express themselves through captions. Traditional media outlets are jumping on the bandwagon too. WIRED Magazine recently posted an 11-part feature story exclusively on Instagram – becoming the first major publication to do so.

This opens an opportunity for brands to share the content they care about and in a place where people will actually read it. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Keep ‘em coming back for more: Creating engaging content is a priority for every blog, but it becomes even more important when you’re competing on Instagram. A long-form Instagram caption poses a unique challenge because it has to make sense on its own, while leaving followers curious for what happens next in the story. With 4.4 million followers, the Humans of New York Instagram handle knows how to do just that. Its current series shares multi-post stories about Syrian refugees, and it has captivated an audience around the world.

Make it visual (duh!): Once you have a story to tell, you need a picture to match. Instagram is a lifestyle platform built to celebrate great photography, not stock photos or stylized quotes. This can be a challenge, especially for B2B or deep tech companies, but General Electric is a great example of a company that has mastered the use of Instagram. This holiday season, it even created a winter wonderland photo collage that sprinkles in some of its technology in the images.

Be neutral: Ultimately, your Instagram content should tie back to your business goals, whether that be education, maintaining a certain brand image, or driving web traffic. But no one wants to see a salesman on their personal social media feeds. What they want is a story, and if done correctly that story will inspire action that impacts your bottom line. For example, Expedia sells airline tickets, but it doesn’t post photos of an airline seat. It posts pictures of the destinations where that airplane ticket will take you, and I’d wager that Expedia would be even more successful if it used photo captions to share a story, not just a description.

This isn’t something you can just dive into tomorrow. An effective Instagram strategy requires time, strategy and talented photographers and storytellers. But given Instagram’s resounding user engagement rates, it’s worth the investment in 2016.

Read more from Darah Patton
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Three Tips for Bringing Holiday Magic to your Social Campaigns

‘Tis the season where people everywhere are decking the halls and hitting the malls for all things holiday-related. For marketers, it’s the season to drive products and services into the spotlight to capitalize on the busiest shopping season of the year. Your company most likely already has social campaigns in place to promote your holiday offerings, but you may be feeling like your messages are getting lost in the seasonal shuffle. This is understandable, with last year’s e-Commerce orders from social media growing a staggering 202 percent and two-thirds of marketers hiking their spending in social media this Q4. Even though the countdown is on, there is still time to tweak your campaigns to optimize your investment across social media and propel your messages forward. Below are three tips to help bring some holiday magic to your social campaigns to stand out from the rest.

1. Personalize your offers.
A recent trend report reveals that 78 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy products if a retailer provides targeted and personalized offers. With the overwhelming gifts offers of all types during the holidays, a thoughtful promotion tailored to a specific audience’s interests goes a long way. Scrolling through social media news feeds in December can put a consumer on auto-pilot, but a personalized message is sure to catch their eye. Not only do niche messages and tailored audiences please consumers amidst the chaos, it can also benefit your company to avoid major holiday keywords in promotions. Major retailers are investing millions of dollars across social paid promotions and have general holiday keywords in their back pockets to guarantee their promotions are front and center as consumers search Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for gifts. Unless you have the bucks to bid against the Targets and Best Buys of the world, your promotions will most likely fall flat in the general “Happy Holidays” keywords arena. Take advantage of these social channels and their advanced advertising platforms to tailor your audience and keywords to the most valuable, niche market that will truly resonate with what you’re offering.

2. Make it easy to shop anywhere.
Online shopping is shaping up to surpass brick-and-mortar stores in the coming years during the holiday season. Even more notably, mobile commerce sales this season are expected to account for 32 percent of all holiday retail sales. Regardless of where folks are shopping, 78 percent will consult resources online to research gifts before purchasing. What does this mean for marketers? Shopping needs to be accessible anywhere. Social media promotions, whether organic or paid content, should drive shoppers to your products or services that can be purchased easily and efficiently regardless of device. While some companies are still struggling to make their shopping experience mobile-friendly, you can make your remaining social content stand out by highlighting just how shoppers can purchase your gifts this season – from store to desktop, to tablet, to mobile – and call out how easy it is to check off another gift from their lists. Shoppers will appreciate your attention to detail that helps ease their holiday stress during crunch time.

3. Promote giving back.
In the clutter of “buy now” messages, promoting how to give back this season is refreshing for consumers looking to take a step back and remember what the holidays are all about. Is your company supporting a cause this season? Enlist your customers in your charitable efforts! Shoppers may have every intention of making a holiday donation, but in the hustle and bustle they may not know where to begin. Supporting a cause through a brand they love is an easy way for consumers to give back among the rest of their holiday to-dos. Macy’s “Believe” campaign is a great example that encourages shoppers to write a letter to Santa to help raise $1 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Your letter can be written through their website or their complementary app that lets you spruce up your note with stickers and fancy lettering. If your social content could use a refresher in the final weeks before the holidays, showcasing how to give back is a great way to boost brand advocacy and more inviting content to combat consumer burnout.

As we round the corner into the final shopping week before the holidays, we hope these tips can bring a little cheer to your content and campaigns. A tweak in your messaging can help put a twinkle back into the tired eyes of shoppers across your social media channels and generate last-minute sales around promotions that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.

Read more from Jill Jankowski
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How (and Why) Brands Should Jump on the Snapchat Bandwagon

Snapchat claims to be “the best way to reach 13-34 year-olds.” A bold statement, but if this stands true, this means Snapchat could be one of the most impactful avenues for brands to reach the coveted teen and Millennial audiences. Especially as more Millennial-oriented platforms come onto the scene, like YouNow and CNN’s Great Big Story, the question arises: how can brands best benefit from these different apps? I recently attended PR News’ webinar How to Use Snapchat to Enhance Your Brand’s Messaging and thought I’d share the key insights I took away on how brands can use Snapchat to their advantage.

When considering using Snapchat for your brand, it is important to keep in mind the audience and the platform’s unique capabilities. According to Snapchat, more than 60 percent of 13-34 year olds with a smartphone use the app, with 37 percent of users being 18-24 years old (and only 2 percent being 55+). Also, just FYI, posts in Snapchat cannot be pre-loaded, they must be live which calls for time and resources. So if your brand is targeting an older generation, it may not be worth the effort to invest in Snapchat.

Aside from being one of “the best” ways to reach Millennials and teens, why is Snapchat worth it for brands?

  • Constant content: You can push content out constantly to your Story without worrying about overloading feeds. Users select when to view your content, so they aren’t involuntarily inundated. And all of your content is found when someone clicks on your cover image (until they disappear 24 hours later!).
  • Live feeds: Since it is a purely live-based platform, Snapchat is especially effective for events, news and anything else your brand wants to communicate at that moment. For example, multiple publishers like Mashable and Buzzfeed used Snapchat to “live blog” this fall’s Apple event – immediately breaking news and creating a full feed in one spot that covered highlights from the whole event.
  • Creativity: Snapchat has a lot of unique features like doodling and geofilters (overlays that are only available in certain locations) that make it fun to show the personality and behind-the-scenes of a brand. And if you really want to, you can even take a selfie that shows you barfing rainbows (if, you know, that aligns with your brand’s messaging and all).

So maybe I’ve convinced you why your brand should consider jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon, but it’s also important to know that engagement is a whole different beast on Snapchat, especially since it is completely app-based. Here are some tactics to help drive engagement:

  • Cross promotion: To add users on Snapchat, you have to search directly in the app. This means you can’t link directly to your name in the way we are familiar with for other social media. By making your Twitter or Facebook avatars your Snapchat QR code (aka your name on Snapchat), this tells your followers how to find you.
  • Follow back: Adding some of your key followers back can make them more inclined to view your Stories and stay loyal to your brand.
  • Post close together, but not too often: Posting to your Story a couple times of week, rather than every day, can actually drive more opens. However, when you are creating a Story, try to post all your snaps in the same hour so your followers are able to watch the story unfold at once.
  • Storytelling: Snapchat may be a whole new world, but it still calls for a beginning, middle and end to your Story. A strong Story will drive followers to continue to engage with your brand.

Snapchat is a young platform, literally and audience-wise, and is still new territory for many brands. It has a lot to offer, ranging from its live Stories to its news section Discover. If you have a youthful audience, Snapchat is worth the effort and can be a fun way to present your brand.

Read more from Linnea DiPillo
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It’s not a GIF or a Photo. It’s Instagram’s New Boomerang Feature

Boomerang, not to be confused with the hunting stick used by Australian Aboriginals, is a new video app from Instagram. The standalone app that rolled out on iOS and Android devices last Thursday lets you shoot one-second videos made from a burst of five photos. The video loop plays backwards and forwards for a “Boomerang” effect (Get it??) Boomerang joins in on the moving photo craze with other apps like Vine, Apple “Live Photos” and Phhhoto.

As explained on the Instagram blog, “Capture a friend jumping off a diving board, defying physics as she flies back and forth through the air. Transform an ordinary selfie with your friends into a funny video. Get that exact moment your friend blows out his birthday candles, then watch them come back to life again and again.”

How does it work?

Boomerang is fast and incredibly simple to use. The app takes a burst of five photos and stitches them together into a mini video that plays forward and backward. Shooting in normal or selfie mode, all you have to do is tap the shutter button and Boomerang captures five quick shots over the span of a second. Although the app doesn’t have its own feed, each video is automatically saved to your camera roll and can be easily shared on Facebook, Instagram, or elsewhere. As an added bonus the app doesn’t require users to have an Instagram account or a login.

So what?

Boomerang joins Instagram’s growing list of standalone apps that complement the main Instagram app. In March, Instagram rolled out Layout, an app that lets you create photo collages and last August it released Hyperlapse, an app for making time lapse videos. Like with Layout and Hyperlapse, the idea is to bring something new to Instagram and add variety to the existing platform. By allowing users to create and share their own instant GIF-videos, Boomerang not only diversifies the Instagram platform, but also provides an alternative to other GIF and video sharing apps, like Snapchat and Vine.

In the hyper-competitive social media landscape, Boomerang is another example of the shift in messaging and explosion of visual communication taking place through videos and GIFs. The app provides another opportunity for brands to liven up and create unique content to drive brand awareness. While it only launched just last week, some brands are already using it. It will be interesting to see if other brands will integrate GIF-video apps like Boomerang into their existing social media plans and how they will use it to create content and tell their story. In the meantime, don’t forget about these unwritten rules for using Instagram.

Read more from Ashley Genest
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Distributed Content: The Evolution of the Paper Route


As a PR person, it’s really important to keep up with the news of the day. In fact, being in the know is equally as important as all other facets of the role, almost on an as-it-happens basis. The truth is, with the frenetic pace of the day, keeping current with speed of breaking news while also being productive is a constant juggling act. As a news junkie, I was thrilled when news outlets took to Facebook and Twitter and began posting links to stories in the places I visit a few times a day anyhow.

This is the new era of news consumption. Gone are the days of the paper boy delivering the news to our door in the wee hours of the morning; instead, mobile has changed the way we consume news, a cycle that is 24/7 – no breaks. There is no such thing as the morning news or the evening news – news follows us via different mediums all day and all night. Twitter and Facebook have led the charge in recent years – according to recent Pew Research, news hounds are getting their fix on either Twitter or Facebook (63 percent respectively) up significantly from 2013 (52 percent/Twitter; 47 percent/Facebook).

Recently news consumption has evolved so it’s delivered to where readers already are, versus having readers come to get the news. It’s a huge shift known as “distributed content” that PR people need to understand.

How are social platforms adapting?

Everyone is getting in on the game, figuring out how best to entice publishers and content producers to get their news “into the stream” and in front of the huge mobile audiences. It all started with Facebook Instant Articles. Then came Apple News, an aggregation of the day’s top stories designed to bring news stories to you; eliminating the need to have to go to a blog or the New York Times or BuzzFeed to get your news. Twitter has taken it to a new level with its launch of Moments, a new feature that allows users to flip through trending news, all nicely edited and aggregated by humans who provide users with a simple way to engage with current events. It’s quick and dirty, not in-depth, and is great for steering readers toward the news they’d like to explore further. Similarly, Facebook’s “Trending” feature gives users a look at what’s happening now – serving up full-length news stories from major sources (think WSJ, NYT, etc.). The best part about Trending is that it’s smart – showing news relative to popularity, geography, and interest. Then came Google AMP, designed to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile Web to deliver rich content instantly regardless of device.

For Millennials who think Facebook and Twitter are for their parents (I beg to differ…), super popular Snapchat has been in on this action for some time now, too. Snapchat’s Discover offers Stories, just like our personal Snaps – but sponsored by major news outlets and delivered in brief editorial packages. Short and sweet. Just like our attention spans.

As the “on-demand” generation, this is about as on-demand as it gets.

Publishers get on board

The major shift taking place is that many major media outlets are no longer publishing exclusively to their own properties (which is crazy if you think about it). The Washington Post, Business Insider and The Huffington Post all publish to Facebook Instant Articles. CNN, Vox Media, TIME and Wired were among the first wave of publishers on Apple News, while U.S. News, New York Times and Buzzfeed got on board with Google AMP.

The proverbial paperboy is still delivering to your doorstep – only the doorstep is your computer or mobile device or tablet. And even then, the news is following you, not the other way around. Clearly this means media outlets have had to adapt the way they publish (and monetize) news if they want to remain competitive and relevant.

So what does this mean for PR? Smart PR people understand that securing media coverage with publications who are distributing their content into this new stream is the way to get vast amounts of more eyeballs on their stories. In parallel, there are also clever ways to feed our owned content into the stream via Apple News and LinkedIn Pulse.

Is this the end of conventional media output as we know it? Not quite. Publishers still have to maintain their sites both for readers and advertisers, but the pressure to dive into the evolved media stream is on, and publishers who stay on dry land will definitely be left behind.

And yes, you’ll be able to see this blog post in your LinkedIn feed.

Read more from Jill Rosenthal
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Staying Sharp: 3 Tips for Getting Ahead (and Staying Ahead) in PR

How many times have you been buried in work, only to find that a crucial tweet from a targeted reporter went unnoticed? While it may seem obvious to any communications professional, staying up-to-date in various industries is paramount to conducting a productive PR program. No matter what field you’re focusing on, trends are changing rapidly and PR people need to keep their finger on the pulse  — which is a challenge when the news cycle is 24/7, reporters change beats frequently and what’s new on social media is old just minutes later.

So, how can you stay up-to-date on everything — from media changes and new social channels to industry trends — when you’re also balancing your regular workload? It all comes down to taking advantage of the right tools and resources. By keeping tabs on the need-to-know topics and building relationships with the well-informed, you’ll walk away with some fresh ideas to bring to the table.

If you’re new to PR or just looking for fresh ideas on staying in the loop, consider these tips:

1. Read everything. Obvious, right? But it happens all too often that an article or a reporter’s tweet slips through the cracks during a busy day. To hone in on the topics you’re most interested in, consider checking out Apple News for your daily article intake if you have an iPhone. The new app allows for easy topic and publication filtering, meaning you’ll be recommended stories on specific industries and topics you’re interested in without having to scroll through unrelated news. Alternatively, or if you don’t have an iPhone, you can head over to Twitter’s ‘Moments’ page to get the quick recap of the day’s top headlines. It gathers a handful of trending stories with a brief summary, saving you time from your usual scrolling through hundreds of tweets. And, for those reporter conversations you don’t want to miss on Twitter, check out social media monitoring tools like Brandwatch to keep an eye on your feed while you’re working.

2. Talk with the pros. Don’t knock in-person meetings — they’re still incredibly valuable. It’s always a good idea to reach out to the people within your network who know more about the industry and pick their brains. For example, sales and customer service teams are on the front lines of business, interacting with the audiences you want to influence every day. Take advantage of your connections — touch base with those teams and listen to what they experience and see as important trends in the industry. Also leverage your friendly reporter and analyst relationships. Grab coffee with the reporter and ask him or her questions. Or hop on the phone with the analyst that just covered a competitor to gain some insight on which topics interest them most. If you need some inspiration, our Journalist Corner has some great examples of interviews with leading reporters.

3. Make it all a habit. If you’re like me (or just human in general), forming a habit is never easy, but taking it step by step can help. It all starts with the right mindset — you can’t assume you always have it all figured out, because things are always changing. The way readers consume news changes all the time (podcasts are hot), and new social media apps are popping up like crazy. You can’t be everywhere at once, so make a habit of setting aside time to ensure you keep caught up. Set reminders on your phone if you have to. Skim through your news app while you wait in line for coffee, keep a recurring meeting with a reporter on your calendar every quarter, or set aside 30 minutes one Friday afternoon to touch base with an analyst or catch up on your research. Heard about a new social media app that everyone’s raving about? Check it out for yourself.

You don’t have to stretch yourself thin to stay up to date or spend all day scrolling through Twitter. You just have to learn how to make the tools and resources you have work for you – and then make them second nature.

Read more from Kelsey Miller
https://blog.twitter.com/2015/moments-the-best-of-twitter-in-an-instant-0

‘Moments’ Aim to Turn Twitter into Storytelling News Discovery Platform

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The Twitter project known as “Project Lightning” has finally been revealed and is already rolling out in the U.S. on mobile and desktop before going global. Just 24 hours after Jack Dorsey was named the permanent CEO – after serving as interim chief executive for four months – Twitter announced “Moments.” And it’s big. This new curation feature is described by Twitter as, “The best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant.”

The new lightning bolt icon on mobile and desktop opens Moments where people can browse different categories of popular content on Twitter including: “Today,” “News,” “Sports,” “Entertainment” and “Fun” – all of which have different Moments consisting of a title and description. Unlike Twitter’s standard feed, which is most often read in reverse chronological order, Moments have a beginning, middle and end. They are made up of tweets often containing multimedia such as videos, photos, GIFs and Vines, where users simply have to swipe to go through the full Moment. In fact, it feels similar to Snapchat Stories, but you can share the Moment with your followers. Plus, when an event or story ends, so does that Moment.

It’s interesting to note that the majority of moments are created by Twitter’s curation and editing team – but that these curators are not reporters. They do not create original content; instead, they organize and present compelling and popular content that already exists on Twitter. Twitter also has contributing publishing partners on Moments including: Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post with plans to expand to more soon.

So what does this mean for public relations and news? Twitter, like Facebook and Snapchat and other social media channels, are vying to become a news discovery platform, telling and sharing stories, news and events in a compelling way. In this way, Twitter is becoming more than just a sharing, social platform. There’s now an incentive for people and brands to tweet more about top news stories and events with a goal of hopefully appearing in a Moments feed, and reach a whole new audience. But a few of the top questions that came out of this announcement are: will Moments actually drive new users to Twitter and how will Twitter measure success of Moments? Only time will tell.

Read more from Danielle Laurion
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Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Posts

LinkedIn has a tendency to be overshadowed by social media giants Facebook and Twitter however, for B2B marketers, LinkedIn’s long-form publishing platform is a powerful tool. When it comes to thought leadership, LinkedIn is second to none – there are now more than one million posts published on the platform. Publishing articles on LinkedIn is easy, but getting your content read and driving traffic to your website is another thing. To find out what words or topics perform best on LinkedIn, Percolate, a web and mobile marketing software company, recently published a analysis of some of the top performing LinkedIn content. So, before you sit down and write your first post, take a look at what has been successful in the past.

 

Tips for content:

  • Career management is one of the most popular LinkedIn post categories – nearly 20 percent of the top posts focus on career tips and paths – with articles such as “When it is the Best Time to Change Careers.”
  • Workplace psychology articles focused on empathy, personal productivity and conflict resolution in the office, on average, see close to 240,000 views.
  • Talent management and leadership were also top performing categories garnering 16 percent and 14 percent respectively.

 

Tips for your headlines:

  • Articles with headlines containing the words, “Who,” “What,” “Where,” “When,” “Why,” or “How” made up 28 percent of the top long-form posts.
  • Not surprising, listicle-style headlines and content, made popular by BuzzFeed, continue to draw readers as 20 percent of the top posts explained “8 Ways to__________” [be creative and fill in the blank!]
  • Personalized headline with either “You” or “Your” get more eyeballs.

 

(For more headlines tips, you can read one of my previous blog posts)

One other tip from InkHouse: before you hit publish, you need to select three tags for your post. To increase the odds of your post being pulled into LinkedIn Pulse, its news curation site/app, select the highest-level tags that apply to your content, rather than niche ones. These should automatically pop up as you type. Also, once your post is live, be sure to link to it from your company’s LinkedIn page.
Wondering if you are influential enough to get read? Note that, though LinkedIn runs a program of elite “Influencers” (roughly 500 thought leader participants), over half of the top posts analyzed in Percolate’s report were written by “non-influencers”. So it is possible to get eyeballs on your content without the “official” influencer status.

You can download the entire report here.

Read more from Lindsay Sydness
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Can Discover transform Snapchat into a news source?

Snapchat is undeniably one of the cool kids in social media. Boasting 100 million daily active users in developed countries and with 41 percent of teens using the app on a regular basis, it is clear that Snapchat has an impressive pull. But Snapchat, which is most commonly known for its ability to send disappearing photos, wants to be more than just cool – they want to be a news source.

Since January, Snapchat has been trying its hand at bringing news to its people with Snapchat Discover (not to be confused with Snapchat’s Live Stories), which the company reports has 60 million monthly users. Discover currently features 14 outlets, including BuzzFeed, Cosmo, CNN and VICE. Initially they had limited it to an elite 12, replacing outlets rather than adding on new ones, truly making Discover the popular kids table. These selected media sources share “stories” that refresh every 24 hours. To paraphrase Snapchat, it puts storytelling and narrative first, not clicks and shares. Cool, right? News driven by what editors and artists think matter.

Depending on the outlet, the type of content varies. Just the other week, Mashable dedicated its page to the Apple’s event unveiling the latest iPhone. On the other hand, as I write this, Mashable is featuring a hand-drawn ditty about how Grumpy Cat’s first picture was posted on Reddit today in 2012. Meanwhile, today on National Geographic I learned five facts about rhinos (like white and black rhinos are both gray, despite their misleading names).

If this is the first time you are hearing of Discover, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. I conducted an informal survey with my colleagues, most of whom who are media-hungry PR professionals, to see how Discover is penetrating the news market on a small scale. As a point of reference, of the people I surveyed, 77 percent had a Snapchat account, 40 percent of whom use their account on a daily basis. So my colleagues are among the Snapchat-loving crowd. However, it turns out most of them are not regularly using Discover:

Here’s what I discovered about Discover:

  • 56 percent of people knew what Snapchat Discover is
  • Just 2 percent used Snapchat Discover on daily basis, suggesting this is not a primary news source for my colleagues
  • 29 percent had ever used Discover, with the majority referencing it on a monthly basis
  • Cosmo and BuzzFeed were the most frequented outlets on Discover

And the biggest kicker:

  • 90 percent did not view Snapchat as a news source

Based on this (albeit non-scientific) survey, and the fact the Discover traffic had slipped only months after launching, it feels as if Snapchat hasn’t yet established itself as a top news destination. Nevertheless, Discover has a lot going for it – a wide range of sources that include some of the hottest media brands, interactive updates and, perhaps most importantly, news that’s easy to find all in one spot. Discover is still the new kid on the block, and with its line-up of publishers and unique way of sharing news, it has the potential to change how people access their news.

Read more from Linnea DiPillo
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Three Ways Facebook’s New Signal Will Help Journalists

Facebook has taken bigger strides to become even more of a content platform and tool to source content. Yesterday, Facebook announced Signal its newest effort to embrace media and journalists by providing them with the means to find and curate news across the social network. Andy Mitchell, director of media partnerships at Facebook said in a blog post, Signal allows journalists the opportunity “to make Facebook a more vital part of their news gathering with access to relevant trends, photos, videos, and posts on Facebook and Instagram for use in their storytelling and reporting.”

Image from: http://media.fb.com/2015/09/17/introducing-signal/
Image from: http://media.fb.com/2015/09/17/introducing-signal/

 

Under the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has always been interested in the 24-hour news cycle. And Signal isn’t Facebook’s first move to better intertwine journalists and content on the site. Last week, Facebook opened up its Mentions app to all verified profiles, allowing more journalists and celebrities to see where and how they have been mentioned. Facebook Stories and Instant Articles also show Facebook’s new wave of providing content and keeping full articles on the site – without ever having to leave the mothership (Facebook’s news feed).

While Facebook isn’t the only social platform looking to deepen its relationship with the media – take Snapchat Discover or Twitter’s Project Lightning – Signal is a big move to better connect with journalists. Further as of the second quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.49 billion monthly active users. It’s definitely the platform with the largest audience.

In a format similar to the likes of TweetDeck, here are the functionalities of Signal and how it will better help journalists find and use content:

1) Discover what’s trending: Journalists can monitor which topics are trending on Facebook and display related content that has been shared publicly. Previously, trending topics were influenced by what people say they already like on Facebook. Signal gives journalists a more universal summary of what’s trending based on content from both people and Pages, unranked and in chronological order. There’s also a search function to find exactly what you’re looking for.

What it means: Similar to when news breaks on Twitter, journalists will be able to see what’s happening, in real-time across the world – no longer only based on categories and interests they’ve previously liked on Facebook. They will be able to react quickly, and stay in Signal to build out their article with the help of these additional functionalities below.

2) Data on who is driving the most conversation: Lists will show who is being talked about most on Facebook – from public figures, politicians, musicians, sports teams and more.

What it means: This clearly summarizes who or what is the most popular figure in the moment based on the different search categories. In a presidential debate, maybe Donald Trump is being mentioned the most, but the runner up might be harder to distinguish – Signal will tell you in real-time.

3) Search, gather, save and embed Instagram and Facebook content: Can’t forget about Instagram, right? By using location-tag and topic-related search functionality, journalists can search Instagram for photos related to the trending news. Further, to make it nice and easy, every Facebook post, Instagram image or video, and metric in Signal can be saved into custom collections for use in a CMS or with broadcast graphic packages. Posts and photos can then be embedded into an article by grabbing the embed code. Newsrooms can also integrate Signal APIs to add curated content onto their websites and into their broadcasts.

What it means: Facebook has been trying to better integrate with Instagram since they bought it in 2012. With Signal, journalists can easily search, save and add a photo of the trending topic right into their article. In theory, and if Signal really is successful, journalists might not need to leave Signal to write an article. Everything they need could be right there.

Even if it’s not a sole-hub for journalists, Signal lays a good foundation to help them get the news, data and even the images they need. This is a major step for Facebook’s quest to become a news discovery platform – not just a sharing platform.

Read more from Danielle Laurion