Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Internet is No Longer “Completely Over”

Back in 2010, a man declared that, “The internet’s completely over.” Ordinarily this would not have been newsworthy but the man was Prince, he was wearing white silk trousers, and he backed up his words with actions.

He shut down his website, refused to distribute his music through digital platforms like iTunes, and became involved in multiple lawsuits against YouTube, eBay and the Pirate Bay because he felt that they promoted piracy.

This past March his record label filed a copyright complaint against Twitter under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, over eight Vine clips that featured his music.

And within the past two weeks? Prince sent his first tweet, then his second, and then his third:

He then sent a tweet that combined a few of his least favorite things: online music downloads, YouTube, and his own website. Oh, and he also released the cover art for his new single, which looked like this:

Back in 2010 when he declared his dislike for the internet and all things digital, Prince was quoted as saying, “Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

While some are hailing Prince’s appearance on Twitter as proof that Hell has frozen over, it may be as simple as those numbers. When you make a living on the number of records, tickets and merch sold, numbers can be very important. Some numbers to consider:

$16.5 Billion

Global music sales rose by 0.3% to $16.5 billion in 2012, driven in part by digital downloads. This is the first time the industry has grown since 1999.

70%

Download sales represent around 70% of overall digital music revenues.

20 Million

The number of times PSY’s Gangnam Style video has been viewed on YouTube, helping make it the 3rd best-selling single in the world, in 2012.

A man can buy a lot of pancakes with those kind of sales.

Top 5 Tips for a Professional Video Chat Experience

As a company we often find ourselves moving at the speed of technology. When we’re not beta testing a new posting and analytics tool, we’re figuring out how to automate data collection and comparison for analysis. All of that testing and figuring requires a lot of collaboration and idea sharing. One of the best ways that we’ve found to do that has been to use video chats. They’ve been a great way for everyone to get “face to face” without getting on a plane, train or elephant.

Like any tool, video chats are only effective when they’re used properly. We’ve put together five tips to help you have a professional and business appropriate video chat experience.

1. Remove Distractions
Video chats are the halfway point between phone calls and in-person meetings. Find a place that is quiet, without people walking in and out of the frame. The focus should be on the conversation, not the background noise. To that point – know when to mute your microphone or put on a headset.

2. Look into the Camera
Eye contact is just as important in a video chat as it is in person. Don’t fiddle at your desk, pace, or browse the web. Try and sit still and maintain eye contact – even if you’re on a device that allows you to move around. Just because technology allows you to host a video chat from the elliptical, does not mean that you should.

3. Frame Yourself
Think in terms of in-person conversations. You would not sit so close to someone that your face would be the only thing that they see or so far away that they would need to strain to see you. Think about how newscasters are framed when they’re sitting at their desks – your head, shoulders and the top of your torso should be visible on the screen. The lighting should be clear (don’t lurk in the shadows) and the background should be simple, without anything inappropriate creeping into the frame.

4. Dress Appropriately
Your outfit should be something that you would wear if the meeting were to take place in person.

5. Understand the Platform
Keep in mind that when you reference something on your screen, the person you’re speaking to may not be able to see it. Most video chat services allow for screen sharing, making it easy to reference something in front of the group as a whole.

Bonus Tip: if you’re using a video chat tool for the first time, test it with a friend and work out the bugs before using it in a business setting.

“Story Bumping” and what it means for your brand’s Facebook strategy

Facebook has recently taken steps to provide more transparency around the way that their platform works. These steps have ranged from reconfiguring Facebook for Business to releasing information about upcoming changes to the Edge Rank algorithm that determine what content users see in their News Feeds.

More information can create more confusion, especially when trying to understand what the updates mean for your brand’s social media strategy. We sat down and analyzed the announcement in order to share the three things brands need to know about the changes that are headed to Facebook News Feeds:

 

1. This is good news for brands.

When it comes to the Edge Rank algorithm, change is the only constant.

 Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.”

That means that if your content is getting a lot of engagement, it will have a new opportunity to gain additional organic awareness by being bumped back up in the feed. The cream will rise to the top.

2. This is great news for brands with strong, engaging content.

This most recent update makes it very clear that preference will be given to posts that have a lot of engagement. That means likes, comments, and shares will become even more important parts of the cyclical relationship between awareness and engagement, with each one creating new opportunities for the other.

For brands with a practiced approach to content creation, this is great news. It means that focusing on when your audience is online and the types of post that they engage with, will have a direct impact on your ability to increase organic awareness of your brand’s content.

Taking it one step further and focusing specifically on content creation best practices like balancing company focused posts with audience focused ones, including “fill in the blanks” and specific calls to action, and simply asking questions, will have even greater pay offs.

3. The update alone will not get your content in front of your fans and extended target audience.

Facebook is a business and businesses need to make money. One of the ways that Facebook makes money is by charging brands for the ability to advertise to their users. If Facebook allowed every post that your brand made to be seen by all of your fans, it would be difficult for them to charge you for access. From a user standpoint, it would be difficult to sift through the thousands of posts made each day. From a business standpoint, it can mean that much of your content goes unseen.

The answer? Promote the things that you really want people to see. If you strategically select content to promote, you can game Edge Rank.

Remember – strong content gets engagement, which leads to more awareness, which leads to more opportunities for engagement, and the cycle continues. An easy way to guarantee more awareness is to put some ad spend behind your content. If the content is good, the increase in awareness will magnify the amount of engagement, getting your content in front of an expanded audience.

Combining strategic ad spend with strong content and a system that allows the cream to rise to the top? That’s a recipe for social success.

With Chromecast, Will Google Own the Second-Screen?

People are hungry for flexibility in the way that they consume media.

The potential reach of online mobile video has created significant marketplace opportunities, with companies like Facebook and Twitter trying to get into the video realm with apps like Vine and Instagram video. The “want it now” generation, wants it now, and they want it to be big. So when streaming videos and movies onto a computer, phone or tablet isn’t enough, people look to streaming to the old living room standby – the television.

 

Chromecast connects mobile devices to televisions, bringing the mobile video experience to the living room. Google is not the first to create a tool that allows users to connect their smartphones, tablets and laptops to their television sets. While the idea of streaming online video to your television via mobile devices isn’t groundbreaking, Google’s approach may just make them the masters of the Second Screen experience.

From a pricing perspective, at $35 the Google Chromecast is the cheapest option on the market. Apple TV, which at $99 is still a relatively affordable piece of technology, is significantly more expensive than the new alternative. Google has also made Chromecast compatible with multiple devices, whether Android or iOS.

 

With the potential to capitalize on major revenue and advertisement, there is a mutually beneficial outcome for companies and brands that support Chromecast integration. The benefit to Google is a more desirable product and the benefit to the publishers and rights holders is an expanded audience. More content is a benefit for consumers who have come to expect integration and flexibility between devices, and have a growing appetite for mobile video content. Consumers seem to have a strong appetite for Chromecast, which has already sold out on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.

Though this may sound like a dream come true for consumers, there are some legal obstacles that need to be worked through. Gaining rights from networks and other apps to allow integration and broadcast with Chromecast is not a guarantee.

While YouTube is a powerhouse of online video content and is heavily consumed on mobile, Google is looking beyond the content that they own. Chromecast launched with access to both YouTube and Netflix, and rumors have been swirling about which publishers will join them next. They are reportedly in talks with HBO about providing access to HBO Go and are said to be adding Redbox Instant in addition to Hulu, Blip, Vevo and Devour.

Chromecast will be a point of long-term growth for Google, and for anyone who partners up and agrees to utilize the advertising potential. Consumers will become promoters for their favorite shows, songs and videos by sharing them on the big screen in their homes. Interestingly, as much as the integration of mobile and television will mean more opportunities for second-screen engagement, it may also mean more offline sharing in social settings. The reach of a television screen in a crowded room is greater than that of a 4 inch screen.