Television is probably a thing of the past. What we naively called the ‘Second Screen’ in 2011 is now the ‘only screen.’ In ever-increasing numbers, people are “cutting the cord” and turning to the internet for video-based entertainment. Netflix and Hulu Plus are doing just fine, but YouTube is the “free” option that has become the clear winner in this fight.
As of this month, according to REEL SEO, YouTube has taken the crown as “Largest Social Media Network.” What does that mean?
“YouTube.com had 167,848,349 unique visitors in June 2014, up slightly from 167,737,934 in May. Facebook.com had 166,497,314 unique visitors in June 2014, down slightly from 168,320,857 in May.”
Give or take a few hundred thousand, YouTube saw around 1 Million more unique visitors than Facebook did, this past June. Aside from the ever-present Death Of Facebook language, the general theme of most articles on the subject is that now is the best time to reconsider your YouTube strategy – or lack thereof. As always, we would warn against following the crowd. Popularity is almost never the most important factor in determining where your social media spend should go. YouTube’s 167 Million visitors don’t mean much to you if none of them fall under your target audience.
So how can you tell if YouTube is right for your brand?
The best YouTube channels deliver consistent content.
YouTube power users – the people that come back to the channel every day – want fresh content. Television stations don’t win new viewers with re-runs, and YouTube is no different. The best brands on YouTube run their channels exactly like a TV network. Videos in the same series come out on the same day every week. Each day has a different schedule: Music videos every Monday, Vlogs every Tuesday, Highlights of the week every Friday, and so on. While this amount of content is not a requirement to get in the door, you will need to be prepared for a huge time investment if you want to see millions of subscribers on your channel.
Successful content creators know what their audience is looking for.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Users come to YouTube to learn how to fix their cars. They come to YouTube to learn about the history of architecture in the Middle East. They come to settle bets, learn magic tricks, and catch up on news. Integration with Google Search means YouTube videos will pop up in response to even general searches on Google.com. The channels that gather the most fans are generating content tailored to please that audience. They’re giving lectures, showing off unique skills, and bringing value to their subscribers. Even at the most basic level, if a channel isn’t doing anything else, it’s at least entertaining.
If your idea of a YouTube video is having someone read marketing copy in front of a camera, you will be disappointed in your results.
Popular YouTube channels feature genuine people.
Reality TV lost its charm sometime around season two of Real World. Consumers looking for real humans on film turned to the internet. Some of the biggest stars to come out of YouTube, like author John Green (2.3 Million Subscribers), gamers Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley (7 Million Subscribers), and makeup designer Michelle Phan (6.7 Million Subscribers), got where they are without gimmicks, acts, or celebrity guests. Brands like Old Spice definitely make the case that high production values and huge budgets can pay off on social media, but something as simple as a musician sharing a real human moment can be just as powerful. You don’t need to force Minecraft or Russian Dash Cams into your video clips to be successful – you just need someone willing to get in front of the camera.
The World Cup is in full swing and if you’re anything like myself, you’ve already experienced a wide variety of emotions that aren’t easily communicated in 140 characters or less. So when news broke yesterday that you can finally upload gifs to Twitter, my reaction was nothing short of this:
To make things easy for us all to quickly convey the proper emotions we go through during the drama-filled matches, I’ve put together a little reaction gif library. If you’ve got any favorites to share, tweet them to us!
When Your Team Scores A Goal
When Your Team Misses A Goal
When The Other Team Scores
The Other Team Scores and Your Friend is Rooting for Them
When Your Team is Winning at the Half
When Your Team is Losing at the Half
When a Good-Looking Player is Shown on TV
When You Don’t Really Like Soccer But Wanted to Hang Out with Your Friends Who Do
When You Look Away for a Moment and Something Exciting Happens
When The Match is Tied with Only Minutes Left
When Your Team Loses
When Your Team Wins
For When Haters are Gonna Hate
Between the World Cup, the Stanley Cup and Father’s Day, we won’t have time for anything else this weekend except maybe watching this video on repeat:
It’s part Shaolin Soccer and part You Got Served – what’s not to love? Now, before heading out of the office, catch up on some of this week’s top social media stories.
Your Digital Guide to the World Cup
The World Cup kicked off yesterday and is taking social by STORM! If you want to know where to go for what, we’ve got a digital guide to help you through the next month of fútbol madness.
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Fútbol fans from all over the world will have their eyes, ears and minds in Brazil for the next month during the 2014 World Cup. Thanks to the magic of social media, smart devices and the Internet, fans don’t have to miss any of the action on the field or be glued to the television.
We’ve scoured the web and put together this digital guide to help you find the best places to watch the matches no matter what country or city you’re in, must-have apps and all the hashtags you need.
Best Places to Watch the World Cup
The folks over at Pinterest have been busy collecting data from ESPN, TripAdvisor, Conde Nast Traveler and regular citizens of the internet in order to offer up suggestions for the best places to watch the World Cup all around globe. If you’ve got a suggestion to add to their boards, there’s still time to let the world know about the Beckham of bars in your area.
DIY World Cup Party Planning
Speaking of Pinterest, it’s the perfect social platform for quickly finding creative ideas to host your own World Cup-themed party. Whether your artistic expertise is good enough to build a gigantic meat stadium or your skills are limited to printing out flags to attach to toothpicks, there are ideas for everyone. We’ve even got our own World Cup Party Planning board to get you started!
World Cup Facebook Hub
The party has already started on Facebook’s “Trending #WorldCup” hub. According to a recent internal report, there are 48.9 million soccer fans on Facebook in the US alone and they are almost twice as likely to share photos, updates and comments than the average Facebook user. Of course, it’s not just the fans sharing updates, the athletes have been busy updating their statuses, giving a behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening in Rio through pictures and videos, engaging with fans and even showing off some of the creative ways fans are cheering them on.
Twitter Brings Back #WorldCup HashFlags
Twitter users can add the flags of the world to their tweets by using the hashtag in front of the three letter country code of their choice. Add some red, white and blue to your posts simply by adding #USA to your tweet.
They’ve also made it easy to keep tabs on your favorite teams, players, coaches, news outlets and other fans with match timelines. Here’s what Twitter’s blog has to say:
The World Cup and match timelines make it easy to stay up to date with the World Cup –– search for or tap on #WorldCup or #WorldCup2014 to view them. In the World Cup timeline, you can view Tweets related to the World Cup from people in your network, along with relevant Tweets from teams, players, coaches, press, fans in the stadiums and celebrities.
The match timeline shows Tweets about specific matches that are happening in real time to help you keep up with the latest goals, saves, fouls and more — even if you’re not near a TV. And if you want to only view Tweets with photos and videos, just choose the photos-only view.
Here’s a quick list of the official hashtags and accounts to keep on hand:
For more ways to follow the World Cup on Twitter, check out this post from the Twitter blog.
World Cup Apps, Calendars and Where to Stream
Looking for the best World Cup apps to download? Mashable listed their top six apps with live updates, player profiles, match schedules and more.
Need an easy way to add all of the scheduled matches to your Google calendar? Nick Summers from The Next Web put together this quick guide for importing an existing World Cup schedule calendar into your account that will ensure you don’t miss any of the free kicks, red cards or goals.
If you don’t have a Google calendar or don’t feel like importing the one mentioned above, you can use this pocket World Cup schedule for all of the match-ups.
If you’ll be chained to your desk at game time, don’t want to share in the excitement with strangers or saved room in your apartment by getting rid of your TV set, U.S. fans can still live stream all 64 World Cup matches at ESPN and Univision Deportes. You can also download the ESPN Go app to stream gameplay on multiple devices including Android, Apple, Chromecast, Roku, Windows 8 and more. Canadian fans and those with Canadian VPN access will be able to stream all of the matches via the CBC website.
Now that you’ve got your digital & social guide to the World Cup, all that’s left to do is enjoy.
Google+ is dead. Facebook is dead. Twitter is the new Facebook. Instagram is the new Twitter. Sound familiar?
It seems that social media marketers can’t go more than a month or two without pulling out torches and pitchforks to raze another network to the ground. Why is it that any change to a social network results in massive outcries and swarms of marketers moving to ‘the next big thing?’ Are we all just hipsters, desperate to be the first agency to discover the next marketing sensation? Are we cynical and jaded, taking pleasure in the failure of whatever network we like the least? Are we lazy, desperately insisting that G+ isn’t worth the effort so we don’t have to invest time into learning how to use it? I think it’s time we really sat down, looked at the numbers, and proved once and for all that – for these social networks – death is certainly a great exaggeration.
Google + is Dead (52,100 results on Google)
Let’s get Plus out of the way early, since they’ve recently been making plenty of headlines.
What You’ve Read:
Google + is the Walking Dead. Abandoned by long-time advocate Vid Gundotra, Google + is finally going dark after years of failed attempts to dethrone Facebook. The network never managed to capture a mainstream audience, and has become a barren echo chamber where a small cult of devotees parrot the same tired ideas back and forth, hoping the rest of the world will someday latch on to the ‘quality over quantity’ community strategy.
What the Numbers Say:
Depending on who you ask, G+ is either the biggest sleeping giant in social history, or it’s a pitiful ghost town desperately clinging to a small but dedicated fanbase. According to a Google report from October 2013, Google + users had increased by 58% over that year. However, Econsultancy countered that statistic with social data showing that, of Google +’s 1.1 Billion users, only 35% actively used the network. There is no doubt that Google’s recent efforts to consolidate their regime have increased the amount of people with a Google + account – after all, you can’t use YouTube, Gmail, or any of Google’s other services without one. But the data proves that people just aren’t sticking around to chat. While Google + probably shouldn’t be the forerunner of your social strategy, we still can’t say ‘no’ to the SEO boost. Besides, the network’s content formatting options and video integration are the perfect way to simplify blogging, if you feel like a full dedicated blog isn’t worth the effort.
Facebook is Dead (425,000 results on Google)
Like talking crap about the cheerleaders behind their backs at lunch, people can’t wait to poke holes in the world’s most popular social network.
What You’ve Read:
Facebook killed organic reach in a landmark algorithm change in late 2013. Brands marketing on Facebook are now all but required to invest small ad budgets behind every post in order to make an impact. Many major brands are tracking organic reach as low as 1%, meaning those massive audiences you’ve spent years building are almost entirely wasted. The dollar is the only path toward social success – everything we know about quality content has gone out the window.
What the Numbers Say:
Ready for the hard truth about Facebook metrics? Here it is: There are no simple answers, and no global rules. What’s true for one page (or most pages) isn’t true for all of them. And while it has been widely reported that organic reach took a nosedive at the end of 2013, that simply isn’t true across the network as a whole. In fact, organic reach can fluctuate from 2% to 47%, depending on dozens of invisible factors. We still don’t know everything that Facebook uses to calculate what shows up in users’ newsfeeds – we can only speculate based on the data we have. Every page – and every audience – is unique. Facebook’s public claim is that the drop in reach has more to do with increased competition than it does with a larger behind-the-scenes strategy.
Whether or not you believe them doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, paid impressions and promoted content will always perform better than organic posts, and that’s just the way it is. While this may be a bummer for small ‘Mom & Pop’ outfits, major brands shouldn’t notice much of a problem, since promoted content should already be part of your strategy.
Twitter is Dead (177,000 results on Google)
If attacking Facebook is going after the popular kid, attacking Twitter is like throwing erasers at the class nerd. Everyone knows he’s got numbers on his side, but does anyone take him seriously?
What You’ve Read:
Twitter’s growth has been slowing down for years. Millions of users tune in to the network for major events or disasters, and then uninstall and tune out as soon as things calm down. It’s an outdated platform, designed for audiences that can’t or won’t engage on more sophisticated channels. It’s a text-only channel playing catch-up in a world of rich media and interactive video. They spent too long focusing on offshoot channels like Vine and Medium instead of improving the platform they already had.
What the Numbers Say:
In 2012, the biggest shock in the world of Twitter was its popularity among farmers. Getting fast, accurate information to each other was key for successful agricultural businesses, and Twitter proved a perfect host for that communication. Today, very little has changed. Twitter’s largest body of users in 2014 are mobile users. Most recent numbers suggest that over 75% of Twitter users access the network exclusively on smartphones or tablets. There are dozens of official and unofficial Twitter apps for every mobile device you can name, and you can even update your feed via SMS messaging. This makes Twitter the most accessible social network in the world. I bolded that so you can’t skip over it. When consumers are driving, shopping, watching movie previews, browsing thrift shops, shouldering through mosh pits, and base jumping off skyscrapers, Twitter is the channel they are most likely going to be reading and writing to. That makes Twitter the perfect place to focus your flash sale promotions. You can grab the attention of people walking through the mall your shop is in by riding along with a local hashtag. Throw a few dollar bills behind a localized promoted tweet and bring in some traffic from the county fair down the road.
And as far as Twitter being a slow-to-change network, that isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Those farmers we were talking about earlier? They’re still there, and in huge numbers. Not to mention, the old tactics still work. Responding to consumer questions, sending direct messages to users looking for a product you sell, even celebrity endorsements via retweet – all of these are still viable strategies. It may not have the ROI of Facebook, but there’s something to be said for not needing a new social strategy every 4 months.
So, there you have it. You can’t always make a judgment call based on a sudden dip in a data sheet. We social marketers are data-driven people, and that sometimes means creating patterns where there isn’t really anything to see. Social networks are constantly changing, and the users and audiences you can reach with them are always in flux. Yesterday’s ‘Senior Study’ Group is today’s ’10 Year Reunion’ Group. As long as you are willing to do the legwork, there’s something of value to be found in any social network, no matter how many feet they have in the grave.