Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

The reason Twitter will ultimately fail

I still firmly believe we’ll see a reckoning of sorts for social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter (and even Instagram and its lovely filters) where the network effect takes a backseat to quality interactions and we move away from hegemonic one-size-fits-all walled gardens towards decentralized and specified communities based on our preferences. Reddit is already pointing the way on this (partly):

The internet of old — composed largely of thousands of scattered communities populated by people who shared interests, identities, causes or hatreds — has been mostly paved over by the social-media giants. In this new landscape, basic intelligible concepts of community become alien: The member becomes the user; the peer becomes the follower; and the ban becomes not exile, but death. It is not surprising that the angriest spirits of the old web occasionally manifest in the new one. But what’s striking is how effectively they can haunt it, and how ill-equipped it is to deal with them.

Source: Twitter’s Misguided Quest to Become a Forum for Everything – The New York Times




Churches and nonprofits shouldn’t focus on attribution as a social media goal

For years, marketers have tried to attribute social directly to sales, but industry standards and consumer data reveal that their true focus should be expanding awareness and consideration.Think long-term, not quick fix. Think relationships, not attribution.

Source: The 2018 Sprout Social Index | Sprout Social

The biggest mistake I see churches and nonprofits make when engaging in an intentional “social media campaign” is counting the likes and hearts on Facebook, Twitter, or Twitter rather than measuring the engagement factor of relationships.

Only 14% of marketers polled say that they can attribute any revenue from social media. The same is true when a church or nonprofit creates a social campaign… focus on long-term relational signals, not short-term likes and favs.




Improving Twitter in 2018?

Dave Winer:

1. Eliminate the character limit, allow for linking, simple styles, titles and enclosures (for podcasting). The move to 280 chars was so successful, that should be a clue. Remove the barriers to expression and let the whole web in via linking. Handle length the way Facebook does with a see more link. It’s good prior art.

— Read on scripting.com/2018/07/22/155344.html

I remember having a conversation with Tris Hussey over breakfast at some conference or other in early 2007 where we discussed Twitter and its future possibilities. I was convinced at the time that Twitter would go on to see the light and open itself up as a protocol for the internet to facilitate public micro-messaging, similar to what IMAP and POP were for email. I was wrong, of course. Twitter actually reversed course from its early openness with developers and a flexible API and shifted towards the advertising platform model around 2009 as it sought out a way to monetize the service.

I’m still an avid user of Twitter, much more so than Facebook, ten years later. I remember the early talks and discussions about the need for more editing features and the ability to post longer entries and I always thought that was antithetical to what Twitter was. I still think that’s the case (think Old Man Yelling At the Clouds). What makes Twitter such an interesting and valuable platform for news and social interaction to me in 2018 is the brevity of content. Going from 140 characters to 280 characters is less of a paradigm shift and more of a realization that the perception of too much information density has changed in the post-SMS messaging world. Whereas a long text message was seen as rude and inconsiderate in 2007, a long iMessage is considered the norm in 2018.

So, I have to disagree with Dave here on his point that Twitter should eliminate the character limit and promote features such as styles, titles, and even enclosures. What makes Twitter so unique in a world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, FaceTime, Signal, WeChat etc is the constraint of expression. People use Signal for privacy. We use Snapchat for its ephemeral and whimsical nature. Instagram is how we share visuals. Twitter is how we share quick thoughts.

We have blogs for the other features that Dave mentions here. Open the API’s and get the app developers back on board if we want to Make Twitter Great Again.




The 2018 Instagram Hashtag Guide

Common sense advice here, but I see mistakes like using the same hashtags over and over and over (or using hashtags that have nothing to do with a post) way too often (particularly from nonprofits)…

As for the practice of using the same long list of hashtags on every post… Don’t do it. Instagram’s community guidelines clearly state that “posting repetitive comments or content” is not okay.

When you create a post, only use hashtags that make sense. If you tag a post with #wanderlust, for example, your content must be something globetrotters will want to comment on, like, and share.

— Read on blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-hashtags/




Facebook ads prices are too high and companies are shifting to Instagram

The impression-based market on Facebook ads haven’t resulted in a solid and stable pricing model for most direct-to-consumer companies (or nonprofits, churches, community groups etc). The targeting capabilities are exciting, but the pricing costs for ads have to match up with the returns.

So now we’re all flocking to Instagram Stories…

Digiday spoke with 10 direct-to-consumer companies, and all of them report their marketing mix has de-emphasized Facebook for other digital alternatives — including Facebook-owned Instagram — but seven of them also say they are expanding into traditional vehicles. The reason: Prices are getting high for audience segments and the feed has become a very cluttered space.

— Read on digiday.com/marketing/pivot-traditional-direct-consumer-brands-sour-facebook-ads/




Teens Have Officially Moved Beyond Facebook

Wow, these stats are really quite something. Facebook dominates the social media landscape for older Americans, but teens have moved on to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat over the last 3-4 years.

Astonishing changes in usage percentages and something Facebook, and marketers, should really be concerned about (yes, Instagram is owned by Facebook but the Newsfeed is still the bulk of $$ for Facebook).

It’s hard to earn back users once young people start leaving, as Friendster and MySpace found out.

The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In the Center’s 2014-2015 survey of teen social media use, 71% of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52%) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41% reported using Snapchat.

In 2018, three online platforms other than Facebook – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat – are used by sizable majorities of this age group. Meanwhile, 51% of teens now say they use Facebook. The shares of teens who use Twitter and Tumblr are largely comparable to the shares who did so in the 2014-2015 survey.

Source: Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018 | Pew Research Center




How Instagram’s algorithm works

My clients often don’t realize that Facebook, Instagram or Twitter place content directly in front of users eyeballs based on when things are posted.

We live in the “attention” era and you have to not only produce worthwhile content to get noticed but also maintain interest and relationship.

Three main factors determine what you see in your Instagram feed:

Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher ranking for what matters to you, determined by past behavior on similar content and potentially machine vision analyzing the actual content of the post.

Recency: How recently the post was shared, with prioritization for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

Source: How Instagram’s algorithm works | TechCrunch




Focus on Engagement and Newsletters Rather than Likes and Shares

In fact, research shows that there isn’t a high correlation between reading time and social sharing.

As you can see from the graph, the high read time doesn’t translate to shares. Just because someone clicked a share button, it doesn’t mean that they were engaged with the content.

Source: How to Effectively Manage Engagement for Stronger Influence




2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner

“Nearly all marketers (83%+) who’ve been employing social media marketing for 1 year or longer report it generates exposure for their businesses.”

I’m skeptical of these sorts of reports generally, but SME does a good job of presenting digestible data. There are certainly some good takeaways here for businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, and churches looking to do more with their social media profiles.

The PDF download is free.

In our tenth-annual social media study, more than 5,700 marketers reveal where they’ll focus their social media efforts.

Source: 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report : Social Media Examiner




Will you be able to buy items on Instagram soon?

Looks that way.

This is potentially huge for small businesses that use Instagram for promotions of their products (I know I follow several boutique accounts promoting everything from pens to knives to stationary)…

Instagram just stealthily added a native payments feature to its app for some users. It lets you register a debit or credit card as part of a profile, set up a security pin, then start buying things without ever leaving Instagram. Not having to leave for a separate website and enter payment information any time you want to purchase something could make Instagram a much bigger player in commerce.

Instagram quietly launches payments for commerce | TechCrunch
— Read on techcrunch.com/2018/05/03/instagram-payments/