Social Media,Technology,Tutorials | May 19, 2011 |
Today I’ll be giving a presentation by phone to the National Educational Telecommunication Association covering what’s next in social media. The topic is very broad and difficult to address, as those of you who follow the social media business understand. Every day it seems as if there’s a new social media startup that’s poised to be the NBT and capture the public’s attention. So I’m going to do my best to introduce some of the networks and apps that garnering the most attention.
Below are links to the networks and apps I’ll be discussing, as well as a brief explanation of what I think are the pros, cons and best applications of each. If you have any additional questions or you want to talk more about social media, feel free to email me at ihill at kqed dot org. You also find me on Facebook and Twitter as well as Tumblr, where you can keep up with my reading on social media and journalism as well as my ramblings on other topics.
Finally, if you want to learn more about best practices on social media, check out my archive of 72 articles and blog posts on the subject.
Without further ado, here are those links…
- Pros: 250 million active users daily, so everyone’s on it. There generally are high engagement rates and click-throughs.
- Cons: Facebook users are picky and, in general, don’t like to do heavy lifting. They want simple and fun. It can also take some time to build an audience – it’s not immediate. Facebook’s contest rules also are getting more restrictive, so it’s difficult to do giveaways, even though giveaways are popular.
- Pros: Immediate, lots of straight facts, no frills. Can build a big audience quickly. Good one-way communication and sharing tool.
- Cons: Does not drive much traffic to websites. Users are unable to provide much context or depth on complex issues. Audience not as big as many think – there are 200 million accounts, but only 20 percent active. 70 percent overseas.
- Pros: Easy to use and share content; your content can get posted on others sites easily.
- Cons: Quality of featured content often not that great, lots of content on it, so can be hard to get noticed. 35 hours of video uploaded every minute.
- Pros: Established, lots of use; 3 million photos and videos.
- Cons: Getting tougher to get noticed.
What might be next
(Many of these are developing best practices and growing an audience, so the future is uncertain. Some have the potential to be the next Facebook. Some will be the next MySpace.)
Use your phone or computer to ‘check in’ to a business. Tells other Foursquare users where you are. You earn points, titles and ‘badges’ for repeat check-ins. Some businesses offer deals to those who check in.
- Pros: Interactive, fun, people love deals. Hopefully, over time, it can help a business earn repeat customers.
- Cons: Lacks privacy. May need to compete with Facebook, which also has check-ins.
- Possible application: Offers badges and swag to those who check in at your events.
Blogging simplified. Allows you to easily post and share a variety of multi-media content. Other Tumblr users can follow you and receive your posts in a newsfeed, much like Facebook.
- Pros: Easy to use. Tumblr’s simplicity can place the focus directly on your content. Many media organizations adopting it, including NPR and PBS NewsHour.
- Cons: Developing into a very image-driven platform. You may have difficulty drawing an audience if you don’t have a photographer or online video.
- Possible application: Create a blog featuring user-generated photos of life in your community.
Share photos with others using your mobile phone. Allows users to add different tints and colors to their photos, encouraging creativity. You can also tag a photo with the location at which it was shot.
- Pros: Easy to use and share, immediate.
- Cons: No desktop application or desktop-friendly website, so audience small for now.
- Possible application: Share photos of breaking news.
Offers the same functionality as YouTube, but with an emphasis on more creative, professional video. Features professional video on its homepage, not just what others are watching or interested in. Some argue that videos play better on Vimeo vs. Youtube.
- Pros: Encourages higher quality video by featuring more interesting, creative content, which may draw a more engaged user compared to YouTube.
- Cons: Not sure how much the average user cares about video quality. (See: cats playing piano.)
- Possible application: Highlight content from community arts programs.
Users post questions, get answers from other users.
- Pros: Both questions and answers can be interesting and fun.
- Cons: It’s been done before, not sure how many people are interested. It may have to compete with Facebook, which has a multiple-choice question function and on which asking questions is considered best practice.
- Possible application: Encourage the hosts of your DIY programs – gardeners, woodworkers – to answer questions on Quora to build an online audience.
QR is short for Quick Response: a QR code is a small black-and-white pixelated square, you may have seen them in print ads. You can download an app on a smartphone that allows you to scan the code and receive an Easter egg, like a video only available to those who scan the code.
- Pros: Fun reward for users that provides an interactive experience.
- Cons: Users have to take the extra step of downloading using a mobile app. May soon be replaced by technology that allows cameras to read print text.
- Possible application: For marketing campaigns, have the code link to a webpage on which the user can input his or her details and receive swag.
What might be coming in the future
Users share information on Twitter, Facebook and other apps about programs they’re watching on television or music they’re listening to before, during and after the entertainment experience. Some broadcasters and developers have taken advantage of this by creating mobile apps like GetGlue that encourage users to comment on the program or song. GetGlue’s like a Foursquare for entertainment content: you “check in” to a song you’re listening to or a program you’re watching and tell your followers about it. Social networks also are encouraging movie studios to do more. The following was posted today on Facebook.com/media: “More than 275 million people have liked a TV show on Facebook, which, according to InsideFacebook.com, indicates that TV studios should increase their marketing efforts on Facebook to take advantage of the organic interest.”
- Pros: Possibly ratings will increase for television; some programs report seeing a ratings bump due to Twitter conversations. GetGlue attracting 12 million check-ins and ratings each month.
- Cons: Probably too early to tell.
- Possible application: Create hashtags for specific programs, promote them on Twitter. Feature Tweets posted with the hashtag on the program or on your website.
Near field communication
You probably have to swipe a card or a fob on your keychain past a reader to get into your office. Replace the fob with your smartphone in this example and you can get an idea about NFC. You’ll be able to swipe your smartphone by a reader – possibly without turning it on – and the phone will automatically perform a task. Starbucks is exploring using NFC to allow customers to purchase coffee – swipe your phone past a reader at the cash register, and the money for your grande latte will be deducted from your bank account.
- Pros: Easy to use.
- Cons: How secure is it?
- Possible application: Allow users to be taken directly to video from programs they like when they swipe their phone past an Internet-ready television.
Imagine: You turn on your phone and open an app that starts your camera. You point your camera down the street. On the screen you see the street in front of you, as if you’re about to take a photo. Hovering above the businesses on the street, however, are small animated icons announcing what sales are offered at that business. That’s augmented reality, which is already being used by some apps and video games.
- Pros: Provides an advertising experience the user may find both exciting and comfortable. It’s their street or shopping district – just with some new icons helping them decide where to shop.
- Cons: Users also may find augmented reality too complicated and overwhelming; they just want to go in stores and browse the sales.
- Possible application: Created an augmented reality environment for your next book fair or event involving vendors showing what each vendor offers.
Finally, what you’ve probably been waiting for…
Groupon, LivingSocial, Facebook Deals and similar deal sites
Users sign up to receive notification of a deal from a business in their city. A specific number of users have to sign up for the deal before everyone gets the deal. As of June last year, more than 90 sites offer deals.
- Pros: People love deals. You receive the additional benefit of direct marketing through the site’s emails.
- Cons: Don’t expect major gifts. Research what each site takes from the deal before signing up. Groupon typically takes 50 percent of the revenue generated by a deal. Know what your margins are and don’t get in over your head.
- Possible application: Use a deals site to offer basic memberships.