#SocialSkim: Top Instagrams and Vines, When to Post on Socnets, CES Trends, More!

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Find out which branded Instagrams and Vines topped 2014, what trends sprouted at CES, how YouTube’s prepping for a virtual future, and which channels convert the most B2B customers. Skim to start the year awash in Like!

Je suis Charlie. On Wednesday morning, terrorists assaulted the office of a satirical French magazine called Charlie Hebdo and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 11. The victims were artists, writers, and the editor, cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier. The act sparked vigils around France and global sympathy online, including profile photos changed to represent the words “Je suis Charlie“—”I am Charlie.” As publications and politicians renewed commitments to liberty and free speech, artists flooded socnets with drawings to honor the dead. One great graphic also shows global hotspots where tweets about the event appeared all over the world.

Disruptive technology trends from CES. Whether self-driving cars or revamped Walkmans are your thing, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show came packing the gadgets and trends that illuminate where we’re headed. Many tackled real-world problems: Surfr is an iPhone case with a solar charger and Ozobot teaches kids about robotics and computer programming. Great digital trends include Dish’s Sling TV app, which lets you get channels online and à la carte; Jins Meme, a new take on smart eyeglasses; and the XYZprinting food printer. Finally, Brian Solis compiled trends to follow this year (in the SlideShare below). A few include the death of social media 1.0, a future of search and SEM outside Google, and messaging apps as the new social media. (Speaking of… WhatsApp now has 700 million users sending 30 billion messages a day!)


25 Disruptive Technology Trends 2015 – 2016
from Brian Solis

Who topped Instagram in 2014? AdWeek and Shareablee made a chart of the best brands, engagement-wise on Instagram, by industry. Washington Post was the most engaging publication, while NYX Cosmetics owned beauty. GoPro was this year’s consumer electronics darling, and the top Instagram branded video for a movie was social media darling Veronica Mars, the audience engagement rate of which was a whoppin’ 3,911.65%! The movie came out in 2014 after a highly publicized crowdfunding effort online.


The best Vines of December.
Econsultancy has been providing lists of the top Vines of the month for the past year. And in December, not all were holiday-related. Ford, General Electric, Converse, and McDonald’s make the list; Ford’s low-fi approach in particular shows you don’t have to be super-spendy, just imaginative, to make it on this platform.

Selfies good enough to sponsor. What’s a selfie worth these days? Lots if you’re Lady Gaga. For Japanese brand Shiseido, she took 50 selfies for a New Year’s campaign; 46 were published on New Year’s Day, with the remaining four published Friday, and most are visible here. The campaign was for Japan only, but Gaga’s posted some on her Instagram account (which boasts 4.8 million followers), notably without mentioning they were part of a marketing push (don’t try this at home)—which may get her in trouble if anyone opts to complain.


11 Instagram tools worth your while.
If you’re looking to improve your Instagram performance, a few handy services can help. Francisco Cardoso’s identified 11. A few we like include Gramblr, which lets you upload photos from your computer (provided you have already resized the images to 650×650); Iconosquare (shown below), an analytics tool that tells you what filters work best, top hashtags in use on Insta, and engagement stats, among other things; and Instasize (for iOS or for Android), which lets you redefine your photo size or create collages of multiple photos in the same frame.

Who converts the most B2B customers of them all? An infographic from Implisit presents analysis confirming that employee and customer referrals still convert better than any other channel (3.63%)—twice as much as your website, which came in second place (1.55%). Social media came in third, converting at 1.47%. But for converting opportunities into deals, social came in second to referrals, with a ratio of 68.6% deals made on opportunities. (Referrals got 68.7%.)

Virgin Atlantic supports your ideas. Gone is the glammy flight crew of yore; the hero in its latest is… You! You’re the ultimate ideas guy, who can wow the United Nations with help from a Virgin Clubhouse haircut and an in-flight (fully reclined) nap. Virgin says this represents a renewed focus on customers (and whatever dreams they may have).

Facebook’s clocking 1 billion daily video views! 76% of its American users discover videos there, says Facebook, which released new stats about growth in video uploads and views this week. The total number of video posts per users leaped to 75% globally and 94% in the US over the past year, and over 50% of US users who visit Facebook daily watch at least one video per day. If you’re doing any video work at all, it pays to be on Facebook (with a media buy, since organic growth has become an oxymoron).

Facebook provides more conversion pixel details. If you’re using Facebook conversion pixels to track how well your campaigns are doing, one reader reveals that marketers can now see more data. Before, advertisers could see only when conversion pixels were fired; now they can learn what time the pixel was fired, what the referral was for the pixel, and the device from which it was fired. Time to optimize.

YouTube’s going virtual. Ever want the full perspective on what’s going on in a video? YouTube is planning an update that will let people upload 360° videos, shot with cameras that capture panoramic footage. Such cameras are especially compatible with virtual reality headsets… which means the capability may be nicely paired with Google Cardboard (shown below), a DIY-inspired virtual reality project (for those who find Oculus too geeky—or not geeky enough). Game on.

Are people watching your online video ads? Later this year, Google will start tracking online video ads that play for a minimum of two seconds and are at least 50% visible on screens. Reports will be available on DoubleClick. YouTube will also sport viewability reporting, with stats available for ads bought on a reserved basis and for the Google Preferred ad platform. Reports include the average amount of time the ad was viewed, whether users listened to it or muted it, and whether they played it in a different browser tab in the background.

Surprise! Snapchat finds users love its ads. If you want to hit college students on phones, Snapchat may be your best bet. A Millward Brown Digital study, commissioned by Snapchat, finds that users enjoy its ads: Its “Brand Story” ad unit, a click-to-watch, 20-second video that appears in people’s feeds, was liked by 44% of respondents. But an “Our Story” post, which features curated pictures or videos about an event, combined in a single long post, was liked by 60% of respondents (higher than the 17% of Americans who like regular smartphone ads). Those who saw Snapchat’s first-ever ad, a “Brand Story” unit for Universal Pictures’ “Ouija” (shown below), were 13% more likely to buy movie tickets on opening weekend.

If you need inspiration, Digiday’s got a list of the best brand advertising on Snapchat so far, headed by the latest from McDonald’s “Choose Lovin'” campaign. Here’s the full-length version (it appears in a 15-second version on the platform):

The latest on Pinterest analytics and engaging followers. CMSWire’s got a breakdown on how to make Pinterest engagement richer, including tips on how to examine repins, and research follower interests using Pinterest’s analytics dashboard. There, engagement metrics are displayed for your Pinterest profile, your audience, and for any activity coming from your website. Different dashboards let you see which images get pinned, but pay special attention to search queries: They show how your pictures, and your brand, get discovered.

Vimeo on Demand: Revamped. Vimeo’s updated the look of its On Demand pages. They also include new features, including a better commenting system and fully responsive design, which means the page will adapt to whatever type of screen your customers view your content on. Coupled with the ability to stream (and thus sell) high-def content, the underdog video site may prove a great asset if you’ve got a nicely-produced Web series to market.

The best times to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. It’s all in a handy (and super-long) infographic from Quicksprout. Facebook’s juiciest days are Thursday and Friday in the early afternoon, with “happiness” spiking by 10% for Fridays. (Industries vary, and you should also check your Facebook analytics to see what days work best for you.) 1 PM is the sweet spot for shares. Top tweet days? Weekdays if you’re B2B (14% better-performing than weekends); if you’re B2C, focus on weekends (when engagement is 17% higher) and Wednesdays. LinkedIn’s best days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with sweet spots happening around business hours: Think 7-8 AM and 5-6 PM.

We’ll wrap with the biggest news stories of 2014… condensed into a minute of beats-backed GIFs for your viewing pleasure. Moments include the Ebola outbreak… and that one time Kim Kardashian broke the Internet. Enjoy your trip down memory lane—there’s plenty to come.

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#SocialSkim: Facebook Interest Lists, Pinterest Picks, Socnets Teens Like, More!

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Every week brings us fresh social surprises. This week, we’ll show you the latest offerings and campaigns from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram; a gorgeous kickoff video for the launch of BBC music; and a bevy of tools to help you create social media images with ease. Skim to slide happily into the weekend!

God only knows how catchy this is. BBC Music launched with a cover of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” featuring a group it calls the “Impossible Orchestra“: Everyone from Pharrell Williams to violinist Nicola Benedetti and Elton John are involved, not to mention the BBC’s own concert orchestra. At just over 3 million views, it’s rising fast in the viral video charts—likely because fans of each artist can’t help but watch and share. Still, the pull you feel in your heartstrings is hard to resent: Far from feeling like a cheap celebrity shot, it’s a proper romp into the fantasy world of music.

Because who doesn’t miss Hogwarts? Author JK Rowling of the Harry Potter series started tweeting clues to an upcoming spin-off film, based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a textbook in Harry’s magical world. The first clue was an anagram, often used in the Potter stories, and is shown below. The anagram’s answer can be found here, along with a fuller description of Rowling’s teaser tweets. How can you cultivate social engagement with creative play?

Share that photo for a scare. Halloween’s around the corner, and movie ticket vendor Fandango’s launched the Scare-Off (#FandangoScareContest), a contest inviting movie fans to Instagram re-enactments of scenes from horror flicks. The winner gets a walk-on role in an upcoming film by Blumhouse Productions, the fine people who gave us Paranormal Activity and Insidious. But to attract great content, you need great content: To drive participation, Fandango partnered with MovieClips to create videos like this supercut of cinematic screams (slide your volume knob down):

No PhotoShop skills? No problem. To maximize social engagement, it helps to use strong imagery. But not everyone’s a graphic designer (or has funds to hire one), so Buffer put together [23 tools for creating social-media-ready pictures. Goodies include Canva (see below), a super-simple design program for those who lack PhotoShop savvy; Skitch , which lets you capture and annotate Web screenshots; and CloudApp, which lets you share images internally, take screenshots, and make GIFs.

You don’t need to follow to be interested. Mary C. Long explains Interest lists, a little-known (and little-used) feature on Facebook that lets people group public pages and brand pages into interest groups so they don’t have to scroll through their News Feeds to see those updates. Though it’s too much work for a brand to try convincing fans to add the brand to their Interest lists (assuming fans use them), it’s handy for brands who need to keep an eye on inspiring public pages or publications… and to track competitors, since you don’t have to follow them to add them to an Interest. To create Interest lists, look at the left side of your Timeline and scroll way, way down to “Interests.” From there, create lists as you see fit.

Need some local love? Facebook’s launched its Local Awareness Ads. Slated to launch in the US in the coming weeks, and globally in months to come, the service lets brick-and-mortar businesses target people based on how close they are physically. To make an ad, visit your Ads / Create section, hit “Local Awareness,” and choose the Page of your business. You can then select your radius of ad coverage on a map. You’ll then be asked to enter your ad text and image, as well as a call to action. Use Local Awareness to target people who live near you, or those just strolling through your ‘hood.

Trending on Facebook. Some iOS mobile users may have noticed that when they run a search on Facebook, a Trending module appears below search results. Think of it as Facebook’s version of Twitter’s Trending Topics. The feature’s still in test mode, but its imminent rollout means you’ll more easily keep your finger on that ever-changing pulse—especially if you want to jump on trends like the #IceBucketChallenge while they’re still hot.

When John Doe will have to do. In deference to people seeking anonymity on the world’s most popular social network (consider Ello and Snapchat), Facebook’s quietly developing a standalone app that will let users interact without having to reveal real names. The hope is that the project—due to roll out in coming weeks—will empower people to discuss topics they don’t feel comfortable talking about under public scrutiny. It isn’t yet clear whether the app will interact with Facebook itself.

Say hello to ads on Snapchat! Soon, anyway. CEO Evan Spiegel says they’re on the way, but “they aren’t fancy. They aren’t targeted”—so don’t expect the rich granularity of targeting you enjoy on Facebook. Not to say Snapchat’s audience isn’t worth it: 50% of users are below 25. Ads will likely appear in the app’s recently added “Stories” feature, which lets users (and brands) build “snaps” into a feed that can be viewed multiple times in 24 hours.

Not to be confused with a pinprick. Pinterest launchedPin Picks,” a set of curated collections meant to drive users directly to subjects and current events: Fashion Week, home hacks, and pre-gaming, for example. The collections will be updated weekly; they are created with content partners, whose pins, of course, are featured. This offering presents interesting opportunities for marketers to get their Pins to a wider audience if they’re relevant to a given topic—meaning more motivation to Pin. You can also use them to glean inspiration for how to organize your own Boards for freshness and topicality.

Speaking of Pinterest, WhoIsHostingThis made an infographic to help you double Pinterest followers in just five minutes a day. In addition to handy tips (avoid commenting at random! Pick a specialty), it also provides stats about why Pinterest is of interest (one Pin generates an average of $ 0.78 in e-commerce sales).

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the best socnet of all? For teens, it’s Instagram: 76% use it now, up from 69% in the springtime, per a Piper Jaffray study that also found only 45% of teens say they use Facebook, a huge drop from 72% in the spring. Behind Instagram, Twitter is used by 59% of teens—a drop from 63% just a few months ago, but still a higher rate of use than Facebook. Pinterest and Tumblr trail behind at 22% and 21%, respectively.

Want the youths? Be positive. Facebook published a Crowd DNA study to teach us how to reach younger users (age 13-24). Among the findings: 58% of young people are optimistic, with 13-15-year-olds expressing the most positivity (64%). They rank happiness as more important than other ambitions, including financial independence, loving families, or the discovery of their own interests and skills… which we always thought influenced happiness, but that’s just our age talking. Despite that, 73% say their lives revolve around friends and family, especially on social networks.

Couple that knowledge with a Havas study, Hashtag Nation, which finds that young people are more receptive to brand adoption. “If you can create a friendship with these consumers, you really take it to the next level. They will go to great lengths to support you,” the study reads. The brands teens choose make a statement about their lives—but they also have an “innate understanding” of marketing and their value as consumers, so don’t underestimate them. The article wraps with tips on how to attract the “dream demo.”

How well does Twitter engage? ExactTarget found out. Engagement rates on Twitter vary by Tweets and industry, but media and entertainment brands get the lion’s share of average replies (7.7) and retweets (23.8) for the whopping 199,000 tweets the industry published out the 3 million tweets in the study sample. Compare that with travel and hospitality, which accounted for 287,000 tweets but scored low in average replies (1.8) and average retweets (5.6). The infographic also provides engagement rates for photo versus text tweets.

We’ll wrap with some musical nostalgia. This week, to the dismay of Millennials and Gen-Xers everywhere, Buzzfeed reported that last weekend marked the death of Saturday Morning Cartoons—the first time in over 50 years that none were broadcast. The reasons for their demise are many, but a swift final blow to cartoons can be traced to technology such as cable, streaming, and DVDs. Today your kids’ most memorable early entertainment experiences will likely be on-demand or iPad-based. (Also worth noting: Brand budgets are also following this trend from TV to online.)

To honor an era past, below is a video of the Carnegie Hall orchestra playing theme songs from 43 cartoons. Can you guess which ones they are?

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