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10 social media facts you might not know

(Social Media) Ten facts about social media that you probably don’t know, but definitely should.

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social media facts

social media facts

Social media facts you might not know

Social media has become the mainstream way to market in the digital age. There seems to be a platform for every social need. Connecting with friends and family: Facebook and Twitter have you covered. Looking for a new job, or new colleagues: LinkedIn is great for forging new relationships; wondering how to save all those promo photos: Instagram and Flickr can keep them save while freeing up space on your devices.

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Regardless of which social media platforms we interact with, they are a part of daily life. According to a study by FastCo, there are a handful of facts about social media you likely do not know, but should.

1. Your advocates’ follower counts

First: your biggest advocates have the fewest followers. Less than one out of every ten mentions will come from power users. 91% of mentions have less than 500 followers and 6% of all mentions were deemed overly negative and therefore of no use in regards to marketing.

2. Different types of crowds

Second: Twitter has six distinct communication networks, with six distinct types these are: polarized crowds: politics or divisive topics; tight crowds: hobbies or professional topics; brand clusters: brands, public events, or trends; community clusters: global news events; broadcast networks: media outlets, famous individuals;support networks: companies or services with customer support (read more about these types and what they mean to your marketing efforts, here).

3. Which is better – visual or written content?

Third: marketers say written content trumps visuals; 58% prefer original written content, 19% original visual assets. This seems difficult to believe in our highly visual world, but perhaps it is because we are so overrun with visuals, written content stands out from the crowd.

4. You have a limited amount of time to respond

Fourth: to optimize your marketing opportunities, you have less than one hour to respond to a Tweet on Twitter. The study found 53% of users who tweet a brand, expect a response within the hour. If this Tweet happens to be a complaint, an astounding 72% of people expect a response within the hour. This means you need someone, or some application, dedicated to responding to social media posts, if you truly want to keep your customers happy.

5. Best time to retweet?

Fifth: the best time to retweet is late at night, particularly between 10 to 11 p.m. This advice follows the late-night infomercial effect (share when share volume is lower, and your content has a greater chance to stand out), so it makes sense to see that this type of engagement would be highest after hours. Try this out with some of your Tweets and see if your level of engagement changes based on the time of day.

6. When to Facebook?

Sixth: Fridays are Facebook’s best day for engagement. Friday all three types of content (comments, likes, and shares) are high. The next best day is Sunday. You might trying saving your best stuff for the end of the week when people are truly ready to engage with your content and see if it changes the amount of engagement you receive.

7. What’s making Facebook Pages successful?

Seventh: photos are driving engagement on Facebook pages. As of March 20, 2014, 75% of page updates are photos. Try posting more photos on your Facebook feed, but keep in mind the third suggestion: written content trumps visual, so while more people are sharing photos, make sure you include a line of text relevant to your product or service.

8. Where is all of the traffic?

Eighth: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter drive the most traffic. These three offer the most referred traffic, whereas, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn ranked as the top three sources for referrals in terms of time on site, pages per visit, and bounce rate. According to Fast Company if you’re after a big reach and spreading brand awareness, go with Facebook and Twitter, and think long and hard about joining Pinterest, too. If you are interested in more qualified traffic, then be sure to invest time in Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Wherever your business needs traffic, social media can assist.

9. Why can’t you reach fans on Facebook?

Ninth: As Facebook rules have changed, page reach has dwindled. Fast Company suggests new per post goals: aim for 28, 118, or 385 interactions per post, depending on your total fans. Pages with 1 to 9,999 fans: 28 interactions per post; 10,000 to 99,999 fans: 118 interactions per post; and 100,000 to 499,999 fans: 385 interactions per post. Interactions include comments, likes, and shares. These are not hard and fast rules, but can serve as guideposts to know if you are heading in the right direction.

10. Winning on Pinterest

Finally, studies have found there is an optimal day for almost every category on Pinterest. Monday is fitness. Tuesday is best for technology. Wednesday is best for quotes. Thursday is best for fashion. Friday is best for humor. Saturday is best for travel. Sunday is best for food and crafts. If your brand fits one or more of these categories, make sure you are pinning something on the appropriate day to optimize your reach.

While these finding can give you a good starting point, they may not work for every brand and every situation. Test them out and see if you can expand your reach by change the day you post, what you post, or what time you post. Simple changes could make a big difference.

10 social media facts

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Justine Espersen

    July 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    This is something definitely to keep in mind the next time I engage on social media (which will probably be at the most 30 seconds after I post this). Thanks for sharing your insight!

  2. Luke Arthur

    July 30, 2014 at 6:28 pm

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  3. Yogita Aggarwal

    August 27, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Great Post Jennifer for social media freaks like me 🙂

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Social Media

Can you legally monitor your employees’ online activities? Kinda

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are they ways you are monitoring your employees online even legal? Did you know there are illegal methods? Yep.

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Edward Snowden’s infamous info leak in 2013 brought to light the scope of surveillance measures, raising questions about legality of monitoring tactics. However, the breach also opened up broader discussion on best practices for protecting sensitive data.

No company wants to end up with a data breach situation on their hands, but businesses need to be careful when implementing monitoring systems to prevent data loss.

Monitoring your employee’s activity online can be a crucial part of safeguarding proprietary data. However, many legal risks are present when implementing data loss prevention (DLP) methods.

DLP tools like keystroke logging, natural language processing, and network traffic monitoring are all subject to federal and state privacy laws. Before putting any DLP solutions in place, companies need to assess privacy impact and legal risks.

First, identify your monitoring needs. Different laws apply to tracking data in transit versus data at rest. Data in transit is any data moving through a network, like sending an email. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) requires consent for tracking any data in transit.

Data at rest is anything relatively immobile, like information stored in a database or archives. Collecting data at rest can fall under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which typically prohibits unauthorized access or disclosure of electronic communications.

While the SCA does not usually prevent employers from accessing their own systems, monitoring things like Gmail accounts could get messy without proper authorization.

Who you’re tracking matters as well regarding consent and prior notification. If you’re just monitoring your own employees, you may run into disclosure issues. Some states, like Delaware and Connecticut, prohibit employee monitoring without prior notice.

The ECPA also generally prohibits tracking electronic communication, but exceptions are granted for legitimate business purposes so long as consent is obtained.

Monitoring third party communications can get tricky with wiretapping laws. In California and Illinois, all parties must be notified of any tracking. This can involve disclosures on email signatures from outbound employee emails, or a broad notification on the company’s site.

Implied consent comes from third parties continuing communication even with disclaimers present.

If you’re wanting to install DLP software on personal devices used for work, like a company cellphone, you could face a series of fines for not gaining authorization. Incorrect implementation may fall under spyware and computer crime laws.

With any DLP tools and data monitoring, notification and consent are crucial. When planning monitoring, first assess what your privacy needs are, then identify potential risks of implementing any tracking programs.

Define who, where, and why DLP software will apply, and make sure every employee understands the need for tracking. Include consent in employee onboarding, and keep employees updated with changes to your monitoring tactics.

Protecting your company’s data is important, but make sure you’re not unintentionally bending privacy laws with your data loss prevention methods. Regularly check up on your approaches to make sure everything is in compliance with monitoring laws.

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Social Media

Should social media continue to self-regulate, or should Uncle Sam step in?

(MEDIA) Should social media platforms be allowed to continue to regulate themselves or should governments continue to step in? Is it an urgency, or a slippery slope?

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Last week, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Facebook suffered a massive outage around the world that lasted for most of the day. In typical Internet fashion, frustrated users took to Twitter to vent their feelings. A common thread throughout all of the dumpster fire gifs was the implication that these social media platforms were a necessary outlet for connecting people with information—as well as being an emotional outlet for whatever they felt like they needed to share.

It’s this dual nature of social media, both as a vessel for content that people consume, as well as a product that they share personal data with (for followers, but also knowing that the data is collected and analyzed by the companies) that confuses people as to what these things actually are. Is social media a form of innovative technology, or is it more about the content, is it media? Is it both?

Well, the answer depends on how you want to approach it.

Although users may say that content is what keeps them using the apps, the companies themselves purport that the apps are technology. We’ve discussed this distinction before, and how it means that the social media giants get to skirt around having more stringent regulation. 

But, as many point out, if the technology is dependent on content for its purpose (and the companies’ profit): where does the line between personal information and corporate data mining lie?

Should social media outlets known for their platform being used to perpetuate “fake news” and disinformation be held to higher standards in ensuring that the information they spread is accurate and non-threatening?

As it currently stands, social media companies don’t have any legislative oversight—they operate almost exclusively in a state of self-regulation.  This is because they are classified as technology companies rather than media outlets.

This past summer, Senator Mark Warner from Virginia suggested that social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, needed regulation in a widely circulated white paper. Highlighting the scandal by Cambridge Analytica which rocked the polls and has underscored the potential of social media to sway real-life policy by way of propaganda,

Warner suggested that lawmakers target three areas for regulation: fighting politically oriented misinformation, protecting user privacy, and promoting competition among Internet markets that will make long-term use of the data collected from users.

Warner isn’t the only person who thinks that social media’s current state of self-regulation unmoored existence is a bit of a problem, but the problem only comes from what would be considered a user-error: The people using social media have forgotten that they are the product, not the apps.

Technically, many users of social media have signed their privacy away by clicking “accept” on terms and conditions they haven’t fully read.* The issues of being able to determine whether or not a meme is Russian propaganda isn’t a glitch in code, it’s a way to exploit media illiteracy and confirmation bias.

So, how can you regulate human behavior? Is it on the tech companies to try and be better than the tendencies of the people who use them? Ideally they wouldn’t have to be told not to take advantage of people, but when people are willingly signing up to be taken advantage of, who do you target?

It’s a murky question, and it’s only going to get trickier to solve the more social media embeds itself into our culture.

*Yes, I’m on social media and I blindly clicked it too! He who is without sin, etc.

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Social Media

Deepfakes can destroy any reputation, company, or country

(MEDIA) Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, but they’re being crafted for nefarious purposes beyond the original porn and humor uses.

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Deepfakes — a technology originally used by Reddit perverts who wanted to superimpose their favorite actresses’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars – have come a long way since the original Reddit group was banned.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) to create bogus videos by analyzing facial expressions to replace one person’s face and/or voice with another’s.

Using computer technology to synthesize videos isn’t exactly new.

Remember in Forrest Gump, how Tom Hanks kept popping up in the background of footage of important historical events, and got a laugh from President Kennedy? It wasn’t created using AI, but the end result is the same. In other cases, such technology has been used to complete a film when an actor dies during production.

The difference between these examples and that latest deepfake technology is a question of ease and access.

Historically, these altered videos have required a lot of money, patience, and skill. But as computer intelligence has advanced, so too has deepfake technology.

Now the computer does the work instead of the human, making it relatively fast and easy to create a deepfake video. In fact, Stanford created a technology using a standard PC and web cam, as I reported in 2016.

Nowadays, your average Joe can access open source deepfake apps for free. All you need is some images or video of your victim.

While the technology has mostly been used for fun – such as superimposing Nicolas Cage into classic films – deepfakes could and have been used for nefarious purposes.

There is growing concern that deepfakes could be used for political disruption, for example, to smear a politician’s reputation or influence elections.

Legislators in the House and Senate have requested that intelligence agencies report on the issue. The Department of Defense has already commissioned researchers to teach computers to detect deepfakes.

One promising technology developed at the University of Albany analyzes blinking to detect deep fakes, as subjects in the faked videos usually do not blink as often as real humans do. Ironically, in order to teach computers how to detect them, researchers must first create many deepfake videos. It seems that deepfake creators and detectors are locked in a sort of technological arms race.

The falsified videos have the potential to exacerbate the information wars, either by producing false videos, or by calling into question real ones. People are already all too eager to believe conspiracy theories and fake news as it is, and the insurgence of these faked videos could be created to back up these bogus theories.

Others worry that the existence of deepfake videos could cast doubt on actual, factual videos. Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University says that deepfakes could lead to “deep denials” – in other words, “the ability to dispute previously uncontested evidence.”

While there have not yet been any publicly documented cases of attempts to influence politics with deepfake videos, people have already been harmed by the faked videos.

Women have been specifically targeted. Celebrities and civilians alike have reported that their likeness has been used to create fake sex videos.

Deepfakes prove that just because you can achieve an impressive technological feat doesn’t always mean you should.

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