Can social Stories work for news organizations — without putting them on a platform?

On platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, Stories are cute — they’re perfectly designed for your phone’s screen, they can feel more narrative than disconnected posts, you can be pithy while still including more information than a regular post, and you can communicate more directly with your audience. But they also have drawbacks: the public can’t really see them after 24 hours, and they’re accessible only by users of those apps. Continue reading “Can social Stories work for news organizations — without putting them on a platform?”

How the Guardian’s Instagram strategy is winning new readers

Like many publishers, the Guardian is using Instagram to cultivate a loyal, young audience that doesn’t visit its main digital products.

The publisher has steadily grown its following and has nearly 860,000 Instagram followers to date, up 57 percent from a year ago. More interesting yet, 60 percent of those who follow links to the Guardian’s site are new to the Guardian, according to the publisher. The plan is to encourage those followers to become regular readers of the Guardian’s site and apps and, in time, possibly even paying members. Continue reading “How the Guardian’s Instagram strategy is winning new readers”

2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on communicating your research with social media

Twitter can help with scientific dissemination but its influence on citation impact is less clear Researchers have long been encouraged to use Twitter. But does researchers’ presence on Twitter influence citations to their papers? José Luis Ortega explored to what extent the participation of scholars on Twitter can influence the tweeting of their articles and found that although the relationship between tweets […]

Facebook defends itself against social media critics

(Reuters) — Facebook Inc on Friday struck back against scientific researchers and tech industry insiders who have criticized the world’s biggest social media network and its competitors for transforming how people behave and express emotion. Facebook, in a corporate blog post, said that social media can be good for people’s well-being if they use the technology in a way that is active, such as messaging with friends, rather than passive, such as scrolling through a feed of other people’s posts. It was the second time this week that Facebook had published such a rebuttal, signaling a new willingness to defend a business model that translates users’ attention into advertising revenue. Continue reading “Facebook defends itself against social media critics”

Are you in a newsroom right now? Take a look at your social media team. What are they doing Most likely, they’re posting stories from your staff on Twitter and Facebook. They’re checking Google Analytics or or Chartbeat to see if those links are successfully penetrating the fickle social media universe. They’re explaining to another young reporter why she needs to change the name on her Twitter account to, well, anything else but @FoxyGrrrl15.

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State of social platform use in Germany in 5 charts

Germany has had a more reserved relationship with social media than other countries like the U.S. and U.K. That’s largely because the deep-rooted mistrust around data privacy from the Stasi era remains, which has bred a reluctance to fully embrace social networks. But that’s changing. The millennial generation has an affinity for social networks, which is why platforms like Instagram are booming in Germany.

There’s still a ways to go, though. Over 85 percent of all adult Germans are online, but only half of those are on social — far fewer than other European countries, according to a recent study from German public television companies ARD and ZDF.

Here’s a look at social network usage patterns, based on multiple data sources:

Facebook reigns supreme
Facebook is by far the most used social network in Germany with 28 million users, according to the platform. Some have said Facebook’s overall growth has started diminishing, though, as younger users have flocked to its other apps, WhatsApp and Instagram. Instagram has 9 million active users, according to the company. Instagram also released a load of business tools last year for brands, which has helped aid its growth among marketers. 

Agencies love Instagram
Facebook-owned Instagram will be Snapchat’s toughest rival, having launched in Germany earlier and already a favorite among agencies. Instagram is strong in the 14- to 29-year-old bracket but isn’t used much by older demographics. Usage of the platform is lagging behind awareness of it. Thirty-five percent of its 14- to 29-year-old users are active on Instagram, while awareness of it is at 56 percent within the same age group, according to research agency Forsa.

Source: Forsa

Snapchat lenses and stories are liked
It’s early for Snapchat in Germany, and the platform doesn’t separate German users officially yet, though some research firms put its usage numbers in the country at around 900,000 in 2016. Women make up 70 percent of the platform’s users, according to eMarketer data. Predictably, Snapchat Germany users are mostly in the 14- to 19-year-old age group, with 66 percent of users within that bracket, while 29 percent are between 20 and 29 years old, according to eMarketer. A smaller number of users — 2.5 percent — are over 30 years old, and the same percentage applies to those younger than 14 years old.

Snapchat features are getting more popular, though, particularly lenses and stories, according to a study by the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf. A total 2,165 people were interviewed in January, 1,610 of whom use Snapchat.

Source: University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf

Twitter has always struggled
Twitter has never gotten great traction in Germany. “It just didn’t catch on,” said Irene Waltz, social media specialist at research firm Marketing Helfer. That’s not to say it isn’t used. Twitter is a useful tool for journalists, who use it a lot, as do football clubs. But it hasn’t been a tool for politicians’ campaigns, unlike in the U.S. and in the U.K., where it has played a major role, she added.

Twitter’s former 140-character limit was a barrier for some. But its failure to communicate German user figures early enough with agencies also hurt its growth. Twitter didn’t perform well for brands that launched accounts, either, according to Max Embert, social media specialist at Publicis Pixelpark. “Then, Instagram rose, and the focus shifted from the low engagement on Twitter to the highly engaging visual photo community,” he said. “Twitter didn’t understand the German market and was then overtaken by Instagram.”

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to perform well, commanding the highest media budgets along with Facebook. “YouTube is often separated from social media budgets and counted toward online video budgets or display advertising. So the most spend will be on Facebook and YouTube, with Instagram next,” added Embert.


Source: eMarketer

LinkedIn is catching up fast to Xing
Homegrown site has been the most popular professional network in Germany, with 10.5 million total users there and in German-speaking nations Switzerland and Austria. But LinkedIn has steadily gained ground, now claiming 9 million users across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Agencies attribute that to people who have previously lived abroad in countries where LinkedIn is the dominant network bumping up the average. New features and tools have also helped. “Xing is very powerful still here,” said Simon Usifo, managing director of account management at Ogilvy & Mather Germany. “LinkedIn has typically been used by people who have studied abroad. Most on Xing haven’t needed to go beyond that.”


Sources: LinkedIn and Xing


The post State of social platform use in Germany in 5 charts appeared first on Digiday.

WTF is an Insta pod?

There’s a new clique in town. Buzz has surrounded Instagram pods for the last few weeks, fueled in part by a recent Mashable article about how hard it is to join one. We break down what a pod is and what it means for brands.

So, what is it?
Essentially, pods are self-organized groups of 10 to 15 Instagrammers. They can be businesses, brands, influencers or just regular people — although they tend to mostly be influencers.

The way it works is that everyone in the group is in charge of improving the engagement on the other members’ posts. Each time a person posts, that person will share it with the group via a private direct message. Everyone in the pod will then engage with the post, liking and commenting on it. (There are many tips and tricks for this, including, “comments should be longer than four words because bots post short comments.”) The process repeats for all posts from the group. Everyone turns on post notifications for the rest of the pod members as well. As Natalie Franke, photographer and Instagram influencer, put it, “In nature, a pod is family of dolphins who live together in harmony and support one another.”

That’s cute.
Very cute. For Franke, who wrote about the phenomenon, the pods are changing online marketing. It also goes further: Pod groups have what are known as “boost groups” on Facebook as well. Boost groups are where members of the pod post their links for more engagement.

There are pods for everything: One pod, founded by Belle Brita’s Brita Marie Long, centers around the color pink, with members posting all about pink. There are pods about certain and specific types of beauty content, fashion content, decor and fitness.

Cool, but why?
There are a few reasons. When Instagram turned on its algorithm about a year ago, it dealt a big blow to both Instagram stars and brands. Here’s what determines if you see something in your feed: the relationship between posters and users, timeliness and how likely it is that the photos are interesting to the users. So posts that have more engagement, comments — especially by other people the user trusts — will naturally do well. The pods essentially hack Instagram.

For brands working with influencers, they’re increasingly looking for more evidence of success as influencer marketing becomes more expensive. Brand marketers are also pushing hard on micro-influencers — using people with 100,000 followers or so to push messages — and are extra vigilant about spammy comments and fraudulent growth. In that atmosphere, pods are a way for influencers to grow their presence.

For brands, that can be a bad thing. Pods in some ways skew the results: People commenting on influencer posts aren’t necessarily potential customers, just other influencers. Julianne Cronin, influencer marketing agency strategist, said as much: “My colleagues and I have conversations daily about how bloggers ‘juicing’ their numbers muddies the waters and makes it more difficult to tell what is real and what isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t good, no matter which way you slice it.”

Are pods sanctioned by Instagram?
It’s unclear. Instagram doesn’t expressly forbid this kind of homegrown, grassroots engagement farming. But for purists, it goes against the tenets of the platform because it essentially hacks it.

For others, it also is about making sure you’re posting good content, not finding ways to just juice numbers. Influencer firm Hashoff found in a recent report that Instagram remains the No. 1 platform for both influencers and brands, and marketers are increasingly becoming more careful about quality. “The number of followers has no relevance in this day and age, where followers and likes can be bought,” said influencer @AlishaMarie in the report. “Content should be king.”


The post WTF is an Insta pod? appeared first on Digiday.

Instagram Stories tops 200M daily users, now bigger than Snapchat

Instagram’s eight-month-old Snapchat clone is now bigger than the original and adds several more new Snapchatty features. Every day, more than 200 million people use Instagram Stories, the Facebook-owned photo-and-video app announced on Thursday. By comparison, Snapchat averaged 158 million daily users in the fourth quarter of 2016, though that figure may have grown since the app’s parent company Snap Inc. disclosed it in February 2017.

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