I write about digital strategies and communications — and their intersection with culture, politics, journalism and social activism.


Social Analytics: Knowing What We Don't Know

Vision Critical yesterday released a study co-authored by my friend Alexandra Samuel that answers the question: What can social media analytics not tell you?

If you accept the study's definition of the three distinct types of customer on social . . .  

and I see no reason not to, my conclusions from the analysis below is not that you need to "pump up the volume on your invisible audience" but do more to convince lurkers and dabblers of the pleasures to be had from social—to become enthusiasts.

How can you do this as a company? Don't think assembly-of-content-for-the-purpose-of-marketing, though. Nobody likes to be blatantly sold stuff even if it's by way of a 'cute' cat video (The single quotation marks are purposeful—I think cats are stupid). It's the fear of being sold to that encourages people to lurk and dabble—and legitimate concerns about privacy or social risk.

Think instead of narrative, emotion, things we care about and should care about, good stories well told or shown . . .  

The authors probably agree since they point out "Once you look beyond enthusiasts, it’s clear that funny/human interest content and online games are the two Facebook activities that are most likely to earn the attention of the social media audience as a whole."

Actually, with respect to the first, it's also what most social 'enthusiasts' like about the social web . . . which analytics can tell us.


7-in-7 . . .Whew!

Only seven days ago, I posted links to significant developments in social platforms over the previous three to four weeks.

Ever curious, I looked at what had been announced in the subsequent week. No surprise . . . no signs of a cooling trend. Seven developments in seven days:

  1. Twitter encourages developers to embed Twitter "into more mobile apps and collect more data from mobile users"  with the anticipated launch of Fabric. Marketers take note: Fabric will be incorporated into MoPub, "the world's largest mobile ad server."
  2. Twitter improves its reporting process for abusive tweets and makes it more mobile-friendly—changing information requirements, making the interface simpler and enhancing the blocked accounts page. (from Twitter)
  3. Twitter again—The mobile division releases new filters "to spice up your photos" (from @twittermobile)
  4. Facebook debuts "Facecast: The One Thing, a one-minute newscast that will appear on the show’s Facebook page every weekday." It's part of Facebook's continuing attempt to keep our news feeds filled with what it considers relevant content.
  5. YouTube offers ads-free music . . . for a price: YouTube Music Key beta is "a monthly subscription service starting with the promotional price of $7.99/month (discounted from $9.99/month) that will give you . . . ads-free music, background play and offline viewing." 
  6. Facebook introduced its Privacy Basics tool to help users take control of their privacy settings and who and what can see their content.
  7. And, not a change in platform functionality, but YouTubers have been *urged* by the Advertisement Standards Authority (ASA) to make it very clear if their posted video has been sponsored.

Don't worry if you feel you can't keep up— at this pace, nobody can.