Social media: What they didn’t tell youby Maurits van Panhuys
Much has been said about the benefits of using social media for marketing purposes. In fact, not using social media can no longer be considered a serious option by anyone.
That makes it such a good thing that we know the specific benefits and uses for the different social media tools, right?
well… Let’s look at some misconceptions.
When using a facebook fanpage, the number of likes is the reach of your message, correct? Not really… Facebook uses an algorithm to decide what stories appear on a specific persons newsfeed. This algorithm is called “edgerank”.
It is pretty much Facebooks way of showing you only the content that they think you want to see, which of course is important to Facebook, because the more interesting you think Facebook is, the more time you will spend logged on. And the longer you are logged on, the more advertisements Facebook can show you. It doesn’t take a scientist to figure that one out. This process of filtering information is not specific to Facebook (although the algorithm is). Filtering information and selective results are widely used on the internet, as this TED talk will explain (as well as explain why this can be a bad thing):
Still a little confused about edgerank? Surely you have noticed that a number of your friend appear more often in your newsfeed than other friends? All thanks to edgerank! In fact, you can see for yourself what the edgerank of your contacts towards you is, or: what Facebook thinks are your most important contacts. Just use this tool and see for yourself! be warned though, finding out who you stalk the most can be as embarrassing as it is interresting
For a lot of people edgerank is nothing new. In fact, tips can be found online to raise your own edgerank, like the one shown here ( through vasimpleservices)
What is new though, is that Facebook lowered the edgerank of all corporate pages and instead are offering people higher exposure of their messages if they are willing to pay a fee (for each individual message). More detailed explanations and examples of people speaking out about this can be found here and here.
It seems however that these changes could be backfiring on Facebook. One post that is beginning to go viral is this one by the Dangerous Minds website. Where they were even willing to pay the extra amount of money to reach all of their “fans” in order to speak out about this and to announce their departure from Facebook as an advertisement platform. Consider the irony here: just imagine the effect that their message going viral will have on their edgerank
So Facebook is still a handy tool for reaching your audience, however, beware the recent changes that they did not tell you about
But what about the rest?
The second most popular social media channel: Twitter. Surely we know all we need to know about Twitter? Well that depends… if you can explain to me why twitter is a great communication tool and that it is best used for real time conversational marketing… than you are only half right.
Apart from being a communication tool, twitter is basically one giant database, that is constantly being updated by al the users, telling everyone what they think of certain products or people, or who they think won the last presidential debate.
But the real power of Twitter as a research tool lies in the posibilities of data scraping and data mining!
Tools like Tweetfeel will give an estimate on the sentiment about certain queries, but that is just scratching the surface of the true posibilities!
To illustrate the use of data scraping I asked the help of a friend that has just written a small tool for collecting data from twitter. Now to decide on a example… let’s say you’re a computer game developer that is working on a mobile app in which your character can date Justin Bieber (Likely? not really, but hey… I needed an example ). In that case it would be usefull if you can find out what kind of mobile operating system your potential target group has. To answer this question we had a crawler look at all the tweets that asked justin bieber to marry them that were sent in 1 day (The raw data will look like this).
From the meta data that is embedded in these tweets, we can see what kind of mobile phones were used to send out these tweets. In this sample, we see that from the 192 marriage proposal tweets that Bieber received that day (poor guy), 88 were sent from android phones, and 80 were sent from Blackberries. This tells us something about the media habbits of our target audience and saves us the trouble of conducting costly market research! But we can use this data for more. We could, for instance, randomly select a number of profiles from our list and use them to create a persona to visualize our target audience. The posibilies with data scraping are far bigger than this and can be used for many different channels.
So go out there and use social media, just don’t forget to utilize all the posibilities that they didn’t tell you about
Maurits van Panhuys
Blog about (the technical side of) data scraping:
Broken on purpose: why getting it wrong pays more than getting it right: http://observer.com/2012/09/broken-on-purpose/
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- Assignment 1 – Reading reflections (35)
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- Assignment 3 – Blogging and Social bookmarking (28)
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- Assignment 6 – Analytics and measurement (31)
- General Info (54)
- Individual Assignment – Blog post contribution (80)