Category Archives: Twitter

Facebook and TV: can it compete with Twitter for live engagement?

One need only look at the trending topics on any given evening to know that Twitter is a popular tool for discussing television shows.

The network has become the go-to forum for reaction to TV programmes and is one of the few things that ensures people still watch live TV rather than relying on on-demand services.

However a new report suggests that Facebook may also be a popular talking shop for TV shows.

This is a topic we’ve previously discussed in articles looking at why Facebook can’t beat Twitter for social TV and a best practice post on driving live engagement.

But the new report suggests we may have been wrong to dismiss Facebook’s potential for TV chatter, with up to a quarter of the television audience posting content related to the show they are watching on Facebook.

And as we’ve come to expect from social media users, 80% of this chatter comes from a mobile device.

It’s worth pointing out that this report was published by Facebook in partnership with SecondSync, so there are clearly some vested interests to be aware of, however the analysis does seem to hold water.

A minute-by-minute breakdown of aggregated TV-related Facebook interactions shows that the majority of activity happens during the show and there are peaks of activity that map directly to key events in the telecast.

These graphs show how people reacted to an NFL playoff game and the X Factor UK final.

A separate report on Twitter usage, which was also published in partnership with SecondSync, reveals similar peaks in tweets during TV shows.

In 2012 The X Factor drove more than 14m tweets throughout the entire series, with 1.12m coming during the final show.

The eventual winner, James Arthur, was mentioned 387,000 times compared to 86,000 mentions for Jahmene Douglas.

Spikes in Twitter activity during X Factor 2012 final

Types of engagement

Looking at the types of interactions that take place on Facebook, ‘likes’ are easily the most common form of activity followed by comments. This is to be expected as ‘likes’ are the easiest and most non-committal form of interaction that it’s possible to do.

This chart shows how interactions were spread across The Sound of Music Live TV show:


Real Talk: No Engaging In Social Media? Fine. But Own Your Brand, Set Expectations

There was an interesting conversation that happened on Twitter between a comedian and (what turned out to be) an impostor pretending to be a major brand (Pace Salsa).

The short of it is the impostor manning the fake Pace Salsa Twitter account went about favoriting a bunch of statuses not very complementary of Pace.

Campbell Soup Co, the owner of Pace responded (eventually) to let us know it was not real. At least, after a bunch of speculation by blogs and users about what was going on. This was the correct response. And whether you want to say they were “late” or purposefully enjoying some free PR we can’t know.

Although the whole thing was fairly benign and not damaging to their brand in my opinion, it could easily have been worse.

But this never had to happen at all for Pace (or your brand). It is understandable that Campbell Soup Co has decided Pace as a brand does not have resources to participate in every social channel (such as Twitter) at this time. We can argue that’s a silly move and of course they should nurture their fans there, but that’s their decision / mistake to make. However, this could have been a non-starter. Here’s the official Pace Twitter Account:

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Of course, we don’t know it’s official because Pace doesn’t write this in their bio. Heck, they don’t even bother linking back to the homepage. They just respond to a bunch of people (and spam their own followers by adding a . before the response) asking people “where is your salsa made?”

It’s clear why an internet troll had such an easy time pretending to be this brand: the brand didn’t look like they were involved in social at all, so it was easy to pretend to be them. So easy, a spammer (even with an underscore in their name) could pretend to be the brand. And why not, they looked more official than the above.

Naturally I was curious about Pace’s other digital assets at this point so I went over to their website and saw (in December!) they sadly still have their summer promotion up:

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I was sad to see this as growing up I have fond memories of enjoying Pace Salsa with Tacos and chips. At the least I want to see that the people behind the brand care about delighting their users. But even if they do care, the messages they send with their above marketing say they don’t. We tweeted to Campbell Soup Co, and they kindly responded and let me know they’ll get to work on this which is great. At least the larger company is listening and doing a good job here.

The point of today’s post is one I’m surprised still needs to be made: set expectations with your channels and look official, even if you aren’t planning on engaging right now. Of course, you should participate, but if for whatever reason you can’t at the very least set some expectation (for example: this is the official Twitter account for Pace, we’re not updating right now but visit our site for the latest) and protect your brand in that channel.

And with your own site and static content: look, I get it if you can’t update all the time. But if you’re going to do that, be evergreen so you don’t create an experience that leaves users scratching their heads.

What’s sad is Pace is definitely not alone here. And while we expected these types of mistakes in 2004, there aren’t really excuses anymore. We need to push our favorite brands to do better so they continue to exist.

How to Tweet With a Punch: 7 lessons from Top SM Gurus

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to tweet or take a selfie with it, does it really make a sound? The answer: probably not.

Today, news without social media is at best sluggish and at worst non-existent, so it is unsurprising that even old media publications like The New York Times have turned their attention to more modern forms of communication with their readership.

It’s not just that they’re trying to be trendy and attract a younger crowd; in fact the fastest growing demographic for sites like Twitter are those aged 50 and over. No, The New York Times have invested time in social media to fully understand it and use it effectively to amplify their online voice, and the results speak for themselves.

In a recent study by Digimind, The New York Times were found to have a much bigger online presence than new media sites like Mashable, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post which only exist in digital form.

So, how did they beat the ‘media du jour’ at their own game? Well, by learning how best to connect with their readers on Twitter, then writing an article about what was most effective, then tweeting said article and engaging the online community further. Clever, right? Here’s what you can take from their 7 most successful Twitter strategies.

#1. News Rules: The New York Times claims that breaking news stories fuel an influx of visitors to their Twitter page, as site users sit and wait for updates on the story, however they stressed that they always ensure their posts are accurate.

For brands, it’s a similar concept. If you want people to keep visiting your Twitter feed, you need to establish yourself as a trusted voice and thought-leader in your industry, offering up-to-date, relevant information. You can monitor your brand reputation and reply to critics to ensure you maintain a trusted presence, and publish a combination of your own content and that of others on your Twitter feed to establish yourself as a thought-leader and fuel discussion. This will result in a stronger online voice for your brand.

#2. Let journalists deliver the news: Tweets by journalists which are then re-tweeted by the NYT get a much larger response. Trusted reporters connect directly with readers by bringing them breaking news stories from all over the world.

The idea here is simple, human-to-human interaction is much more effective than business-to-human communication. While it is important that the brand is present on Twitter, it is just as important to have your employees tweeting as well, as this will humanize your brand and make people more likely to communicate with you.

#3. Amplify discussions with Twitter: The NYT gives a voice to their followers and involves their readers in debates and discussions by organizing highly structured Twitter Q&A sessions with reporters.

The best way to get people involved in online discussions is to make them feel as though their opinions are valued. The NYT often includes comments made by its readers in news segments in order to generate further discussion with other readers. In business, interaction is key to building a relationship, so you should always be on hand to respond to comments about your brand or industry online and to make your followers feel heard.

#4. Twitter accounts are best when properly staffed: Automated Twitter accounts are dangerous, as there is no one on hand to correct crises before they snowball. The NYT learnt this the hard way after they Tweeted a story claiming a British man had won the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for the first time in 77 years. The winner, Andy Murray, is in fact Scottish, and the backlash had already intensified by the time they realised their error.

An obvious lesson; man your social media accounts at all times. If you don’t, crises can quickly escalate and damage your brand reputation.

#5. Clarity works better than being clever or obscure: The NYT claims that simplicity and directness around interesting subject matter generate more reader interest and engagement.

Whether it’s your own content or a post by someone else, you shouldn’t just thoughtlessly tweet the title as it may be too obscure to garner interest. A little editorial effort goes a long way on Twitter, and it is obvious that users prefer a ‘what you click is what you get’ approach to social media links.

#6. If a Tweet worked once, send it again: The NYT sometimes post a popular article 2 or 3 times to get more clicks, as it is likely that those who didn’t see it the first time will be just as interested as those that did. The key is balance though, as they do not recycle content that is no longer relevant.

Popular content is king on social media, so if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Maximize the full potential of this content by tweeting it more than once, and watch more people jump on the sharing bandwagon and create noise about your brand.

#7. Surprises: Some of the NYT’s most niche content has, unexpectedly, been the most popular, and it is often difficult to pinpoint exactly why. However, the publication noted that content like this is usually given an initial boost by a celebrity share. 

The final lesson; brand ambassadors. If your content is tweeted by someone with a large following and a lot of influence, it will amount to a huge amount of exposure for your brand, a renewed interest in your content and potentially an increase in followers.