This infographic shares insight into the range of languages being spoken on Twitter, together with data on the most popular social networks putting Twitter in fourth place behind Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.
This great video explains, in an easily understandable way, why YouTube views on popular videos get stuck for a while at 301 views.
This infographic shows what happens in 60 seconds on some of the most popular domains/apps. Some stand out stats include the fact that in 60 seconds there are 278 thousand tweets, 20 million photo views on flickr, 2 million searches on Google and 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube. Rising social stars such SnapChat and Pinterest feature as well with 104 thousand photos shared on SnapChat and 11,000 active users on Pinterest.
So how do you get a viral hit? Grumpy Cats seem to be doing really well but maybe the secret is dancing babies.
Evian has been getting babies dancing for years as one their early videos show.
This video, at the time of writing this post, had over 15 million views after four years. Their latest video had over 41 million in ten days.
So many marketers go to an agency asking for a viral video without really understanding what that means. So many agencies hate that. So many videos don’t go viral because quite simply they are not as good as this.
There are thousands of social media sites, which for someone who hasn’t even got a Facebook profile must be overwhelming. Whilst I have written about creating a profile network I realise that to start with many politicians will need to take a few ‘baby’ steps into the realm of social media and enabling their constituents to find information about them and their work on-line.
The reasons for doing this is to both ensure that when users of a particular social network search for you they find content that you have produced and control. Additionally search engines will crawl these sites frequently so when a constituent searches for you they will be offered several options to gain access to your content.
I take for granted that you already have a website. If you do not I no longer think this is as essential as it once was and a well formed blog can actually do the same if not better job than any website.
Five Social Media must do for politicians
If you do nothing else, you should do the following now:
1) Write your social profile, this will be invaluable when you add your details to any social networking site as all you will need to do is copy and paste the same details into the description or about me box. Think about how you would sell yourself in a couple of hundred words. Remember to ensure that anything you write is as non-time specific as possible as you may not revisit the content for a long time if at all.
2) Set up a blog, use the social profile that you have created to create an about page. Include a contact page with details of how constituents can reach you. Don’t write ‘Welcome to my blog I will update this frequently’ and then don’t. Pointless introductions are a waste of both yours and the readers time – get straight in there with the content and add periodically.
3) Set up a YouTube page, recording at least three short videos about key local issues. A good example of this would be the Val Shawcross YouTube Channel. Enter details from your social profile into the description section.
4) If you have not already create a Facebook profile that is publicly viewable. If you already have a profile and wish to use it for both personal and professionals reasons ensure that you utilise the Facebook privacy features. Whilst you are at it create a Bebo profile as well. Bebo is bigger among younger people and if you are not in this environment you will miss this key audience. Bebo also often performs better on Google for search results with the whole of your profile visible to the search engine where Facebook only provides full details when you are signed in and therefore not seen by the engines crawler.
5) Start Twittering. Twitter is a microblog which is quick and easy to update with messages about
you. This is a very effective and easily manageable method of keeping constituents informed about the work you are doing.
YouTube is an excellent way to quickly and easily get across a message. When creating these you need to take some of the following into consideration. Setting up an account or ‘channel’ is free and is very easy to do.
Even if you have video on your own website you should also put this content on YouTube. By doing this YouTube users will find your content during YouTube searches, an audience you would otherwise miss.
YouTube places a restriction on file size. Your videos can be up to 100MB for standard upload or up to 1GB using the YouTube Uploader.
Your video cannot be longer than 10 minutes (there is no way around this and your upload will fail).
File formats suitable for YouTube include .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG transferred from most digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones.
When creating your video you should place the URL of your site and the start and end of the video (not everyone will watch the whole video).
If you have a company logo if possible add this as a watermark throughout the video. You should try and ensure this is unobtrusive but it is useful to include as if someone edits or takes a snapshot of your video a connection to your brand will be retained.
Think about how your video will be viewed out of context, when others place your video within their site they may not include any description that you place in YouTube.
Edit the sharing options. I recommend enabling comments after you have reviewed them. This is purely to stop offensive comments and should not be used to stop critical debate. Do allow others to embed your video into their page
Shortly after adding your video you will find that the content will appear in standard search results on sites such as Google (who own YouTube) again spreading your message to a wider audience.
As your video is now suitable to go anywhere think about also adding your content to Facebook by creating a Facebook page.
In recent months the prominence of the internet in elections has become increasingly evident. With increasing numbers of voters using the internet the need to get your online campaigning strategy right is more important than ever before.
In the 2008 London Mayoral elections I spotted that both Conservative Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick were using the Facebook pages service, with Brian running Facebook and Google adverts. I immediately set up a page for Labours Ken Livingstone and at that time Boris had around 5,000 supporters and Brian around 1,000.
By election day Boris had over 9,000 supporters, Brian around 2,300 and Ken nearly 3,000. By not being there at the beginning and without a clear link with Ken’s only profile page a huge opportunity to reach out to supporters was missed. With Facebook pages I was able to easily email supporters who had signed up to the page and their support was clearly demonstrated on their own Facebook profile in a box that shows which pages they are subscribed to.
During the election I spent many hours collecting, sorting and delivering leaflets – many of which would have gone straight into the recycling. On election day I spent the whole day knocking on hundreds of doors of people who were mostly out and would be surprised if I reached more than a hundred to remind them to vote.
When I set up the Facebook page for Ken it must have taken less than an hour. On election day his page had over 1,000 views and over 13,000 in 8 weeks. If the page had been officially recognised with fresh content of photographs and video footage added on a regular basis the number of views would have been even higher. Discussion boards could have been used to garner opinion on key issues and the emailing facility used to encourage supporters to help with the campaign and keep them informed of progress.
It seems ridiculous spending so much time attempting to reach those who in the majority are not interested and no time at all on those who clearly are looking for the information within their network. It is not sufficient to just create a website you need to go their networks creating facebook pages, a blog and create a YouTube Channel. Each time you add new content to your site it is then quick and easy to add this to the appropriate network as well.
I am not suggesting that because the Facebook page was not utilised properly that Ken Livingstone lost the election. I am not suggesting that Facebook replaces leaflets and other traditional forms of campaigning. The fact is though, with very little effort, new technologies can be used to reach potential and current supporters. If you do not utilise these and keep abreast of how they are changing and the opportunities these changes give you – your opponents will.
In my experience the politicians who claim that online is not important this is more to do with their lack of knowledge and fear of the technology. What I say to them is that you do not have to understand everything, but trust those that do, and spare some of your very busy time to learn what you can. If you do not you will have a lot more time on your hands when the opponent who is ahead of the game beats you.
The campaign for 2012 London election has started already with the creation of the Boris Watch Facebook Page.
Update: 4 May: Boris Watch Facebook page now has over 1,000 fans, it took 24 days to reach that number of supporters for the Ken Livingstone page that I set up during the election campaign. Clearly the level of passion and interest is currently at its highest, however it is also interesting that a negative page (against Boris) should grow faster than a positive page (for Ken).
Iminta helps bring together all your content that you contribute to the internet in one place, so if you have a blog – upload your photographs on photobucket – your video’s to YouTube – your updates to twitter, then this service can bring it all together in one place.
Here’s their description of themselves ‘Based in San Francisco, Iminta was founded in 2007 by Aaron Newton and friends. The service currently synchronizes with content sharing and discovery sites YouTube, Flickr, Digg, del.icio.us, reddit, Yelp, Webshots, Google Reader, last.fm, Twitter, and more. Previously, Aaron created Epitonic.com, one of the Web’s first editorial mp3 download sites. Epitonic was funded by CNET Networks and later sold to Palm Pictures. Aaron then helped CNET Networks launch their highly successful Download.com Music property.’
Setting up these services take a relative small amount of time. If you already have a YouTube, Blog and Twitter then you simply enter the web addresses or URLs of these. Without ever returning to this page again your activities on these websites will automatically be updated. This means that anyone who wants to find out more about you can come to one place – making you more accessible with extremely little effort.
If you are not on services such as YouTube, this does not matter. From the first one you set up sites such as Iminta will help signpost to where you are on-line as you add content to new sites.
Social Media Optimisation is about utilising the social media environments to promote your messages and content. In some cases this involves taking your content into the environment where your audience is comfortable and already visiting on a frequent basis. This could be by simply copy and pasting your content into these different environments, however if you want to make the most or truly optimise you need to think about where the content is going and adjusting it to be more applicable for the audience and the type of site.
With a majority of the social media environments do not be tempted to simply signpost to your main site. A consumer of your content should be able to choose to stay where they are to get information, feel free to highlight your main site but do not expect them to always go there. Remember what is important is not just the number of visits to your website but to get across those messages.
A good example of the use of Social Media Optimisation is the Barack Obama Facebook page which at the time of writing has over 718,000 supporters. Here visitors can watch video’s, catch up with the news via a feed, view pictures and enter debates via the Facebook Wall. The huge number of fans will not just be evidence of his popularity but because this page is updated on a regular basis Facebook users will want to have a ‘supporter’ link on their page as a quick way back to this page.
The rules are different with micro blogging services such as Twitter, with a limit to the number of characters you message has to be short, sharp and to the point including a link to the full story either on yours or another website. A good example of the use of this is the unofficial Twitter for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.
Once set up these additional environments should not take a huge amount of time to maintain. When you create any new content it should, where appropriate, be produced in a variety of formats for the different environments. With video this would mean limiting the length and file size for YouTube, topping and tailing with a promo for your site. For Google video you do not have the same limits on size of the video so you could add a promo to the end.
When entering Social Media environments it is important to be respectful of its users. Spamming will not be tolerated and will be damaging. Don’t expect everything to go your way, where visitors can leave messages they can leave both good and bad ones. That is not a reason not to go there though – if someone wants to attack you or your brand they can set up their own groups to do this. At least by you owning this page you can monitor and respond where appropriate, though often your fans or supporters will do that for you – and the debate could drive interest.
Social Media Optimisation is a useful addition to your campaign. Done properly, as many – if not more, people will view your content. For the small investment in time uploading your content to several different sites you can – and will – reach new audiences, customers and voters.