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Social Media Stars
The latest on the social media stars that are changing this sector, the platforms and the posts...
The latest on the social media stars that are changing this sector, the platforms and the posts...

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Instagram Tweaks Its Feed to Show Newer Posts First Again

A couple years after Instagram deeply annoyed many of its users by presenting posts out of chronological order, the Facebook-owned platform has finally taken some of the ensuing criticism into account.

Instagram announced Thursday that it would make it more likely that newer posts will appear at the top of users’ feeds. It’s not quite a return to a chronological feed, but it might satisfy some people—and it’s an acknowledgement that Instagram’s algorithms weren’t taking all the right factors into account when determining what users want to see first.

“With these changes, your feed will feel more fresh, and you won’t miss the moments you care about,” the company said.

It also responded to feedback from people who don’t like being continually thrown back to the top of their feed every time it refreshes, making them lose their place.
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The week Facebook's value plunged $58bn

Facebook ended the week $58bn lower in value after its handling of a historic data breach.

Its founder Mark Zuckerberg apologised for data breaches that affected 50 million users.

The apology did not stop investors from selling shares in Facebook, with many wondering just how bad the damage would be for the social network.

The breach was called a "light bulb" moment for users, spawning the social media trend #deletefacebook.

All the negative headlines led to some advertisers saying "enough is enough".

Shares in the social media company fell from $176.80 on Monday to around $159.30 by Friday night.

Will the shares recover?
Facebook's initial public offering in 2012 priced shares at $38 each, giving the company a market valuation of close to $104bn.

Following steady user growth and a dominant space in the digital advertising market ensuring revenues, Facebook's share price climbed to $190 by February this year.

Brian Wieser, senior analyst at Pivotal Research, said he had one of the most negative outlooks for Facebook's share price on Wall Street.

"I had a $152 price target on Facebook for 2018 - and that was before the events of this week".

Mr Wieser said the share price slump showed investors were wary of increased regulation and users leaving the platform "but there's little risk of advertisers leaving Facebook. Where else would they go?"

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf said the week had been a "damaging episode" in Facebook's history.

"One of the secrets of Facebook's success has been that the more people who use Facebook, the more integral it becomes to its customers. Unfortunately for Facebook, the same dynamic cuts in the opposite direction if it loses a meaningful number of users as a result of this scandal. "
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World's first social influencer survey results reveal the power of authentic online influence

The social intelligence company spent three months tracking the results. Fifty major brands participated in the study, where they analysed over 100-million data points, through three of the biggest social networks, which is Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, across nine different categories.

Elliott said the reason why they did the study was that they wanted to start getting a cross-category about the quality of influence between brands and particularly between categories themselves.

They identified 5.25 million unique engagers across 50 brands. South Africa has about 60 million people, which means that almost 10% of people who have engaged with these brands in the social media space in the last three months. Also, 355,000 unique influencers were identified.

He said Continuon was formed because they believe that there are two major things happening in marketing and digital marketing as a whole.

"What we're seeing is a fundamental breakdown of trust between brands and people and we believe that by using data, and particularly social data in this instance, we can start forging better connections between brands and people and truly start to understand people's behaviour, understand their interests."

Elliott also said as marketers, advertisers and businesses we have become masters of our own demise. We've abused that relationship in the past where people have passed a piece of data or personal information on to us and we've used it to send them spam, etc. So what they're trying to do is make marketing authentic again.

The quality of influence between brands

In this case, the Continuon team looked at social data and influencership. Elliott said that a lot of people in the audience will probably define or think of influencers as celebrities, online influencers and micro influencers. But what they are looking at are brand influencers.

He explained that brand influencers are people within a brand's social media community that carry influence. These people don't know that they're influential. They don't want to be influencers. They don't want to be paid for putting out products or brand posts. They just engage with the brand because they truly have a strong affinity towards it. That's really something that we have to keep in mind while going through all of the research, he said. They looked at ordinary people that carry a lot of influence within a particular brand in a social media community.

What are influencers and engagers?

Elliott then went through a few definitions with us. "What are engagers?" He explained that people who have engaged with a piece of content that a brand has put out might not necessarily be a fan or a follower. Often brands target audiences that aren't sitting inside the brand's social media communities. So often you might have more engagers than you would have fans or followers.

"What are influencers? Influencers are people that can carry velocity of conversation within a brand community," he explained. What they believe is that the metrics that we typically use as marketers are really skewed. He said we tend to talk about reach, we tend to use pay influencer strategies, we tend to go, 'How many followers does this person have?' And that is what we as marketers define as successful. We think that this person has 100,000 followers, therefore, they've got clout, they've got reach. But what they're saying is that there should be other metrics outside of reach that comes into play.

Those metrics are relevance and resonance. Elliot said if you think about true influence, not online influence, it comes down to who you trust. And the people you trust are friends and family and those closest to you that drive word of mouth. If someone recommends a product to you and you trust that person, you'll go buy it. You won't ask that person, 'How many friends do you have?' So why do we use these metrics when it comes to marketing?

Elliott said resonance is the ability to drive someone to action and to drive an action from someone. Relevance is how relevant you are within your circle or sphere above influence. "So, if we talk about the velocity of conversation, we're talking about resonance. When I engage with a piece of content that a brand has put out, velocity of conversation is how much resonance that carries," he explained.

Ultimately, Continuon's algorithm identified people as brand influencers and scored them between 0 and 100. The research also looked at 17 large brands, 20 medium brands and 13 small brands. They put influencers into brackets, which saw anyone with a score of 0-20 being placed in the 'herd' bracket, anyone who scored between 21-40 was called 'sharers' and so forth. What they found was that the shape of these communities tends to look like pyramids. So very big herd bases and very small icon bases at the top. See image below.
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Protecting the Hotel Brand by Providing ‘Reliable’ Information

Elle Darby may not be a household name but this video blogger does have influence in social media circles with some 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers. According to media reports - some 114 articles in all across 20 countries – she contacted the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin, offering the owner exposure on her social media channels in exchange of a free stay for her and her boyfriend over the Valentine's Day weekend. The hotel owner declined, posting his reply online and publicly banning all social media influencers from his hotel.

This provoked a series of back-and-forth messages between the two parties on social media. As a result, Elle Darby lost some of her followers, while the hotel has been criticized by other bloggers for his generalized attack on social media.

For us, the episode raises concerns about transparency with regard to bloggers and the way they operate in relation to the hospitality industry, as it highlights the role of information and its sources.

By definition, the industry is characterized by what economists call asymmetric information. Often, when services are involved, customers cannot know beforehand what the quality of the service itself will be. How can you predict with any accuracy the level of service on offer?

Hospitality relies on signals and these can come from a range of sources such as professionals (for example, the number of stars attributed to a hotel) but also from previous customers that have already stayed at the hotel and provided their feedback and observations via the likes of Tripadvisor, or Expedia.

Nowadays, bloggers have the power to control, in part, or at least influence some of those signals via their social media accounts. Generally speaking, in terms of the economy, if the sources of information are biased, this could lead to market failure and a reduction in social welfare. In plain English, unreliable information could lead customers towards making the wrong decision.

In Elle Darby's case, she was seeking a personal advantage in exchange for posting 'unreliable' information on her social media channels. This is a typical case demonstrating tension between private benefit (Elle Darby wanting a free stay at the hotel) and the social interest (in terms of consumers wanting to choose a hotel on the basis of reliable information). In fact, Darby had implicitly offered positive feedback on her social media channels even before verifying the quality of the Charleville Lodge, which, according to its own website, has been described as 'palatial' but is not Buckingham Palace and so guests should not expect 7-star service.

Another hotel may have decided to play along with the social media influencer and she may indeed have provided positive feedback for the hotel in exchange for a free stay over the Valentine's Day weekend, encouraging paying customers to go there.

The takeaway from the incident and media storm is this: sometimes more is less. The huge amount of information out there online is making it increasingly difficult for all of us who get our news and information from social media channels to verify the sources of that information. The challenge now facing hoteliers is to develop their brands and build on the reputations of their hotels to ensure their messages cut through all the noise.
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Facebook Just Made It Easier for Influencers to Make Money--and for Brands to Find Influencers
Making more moves that benefit creators, Facebook just announced two new ways influencers will be able to monetize their content on the platform--and it's all based on a totally new revenue model.

When Facebook launched a new website and app for creators last year, they made it pretty clear that they were ready to compete for influencers in the original video creation space (aka: watch out, YouTube). On Monday, the social media platform announced even more tools for creators, include two new initiatives that will enable influencers to monetize their content.

To start with, Facebook is trialing a subscription service that would give fans access to exclusive content from their favorite creator for $5/month. As of now, Facebook has not announced any plans to take a cut of this subscription fee, so the bulk of it--minus the standard cut of in-app purchases that Apple or Google charge--will go directly to the influencer.

What's fascinating about this move is that it's putting the onus on Facebook users (all 2.1 billion of them!)--not advertisers--to fund influencer content. Though sites like Patreon have championed this model for some time, this is a paradigm-shifting move coming from a content platform.

This is far from the end of #SponCon, though! Facebook is also launching a second tool that will help creators get paid--and that will help brands find target-right influencers to sponsor.

Creators will be able to set up a portfolio highlighting their area of expertise, and brands will then be able to search a comprehensive creator database to find the right influencers for their branded campaigns. If executed correctly, this seems like it can be a big win for brands who want to work directly with influencers, and for influencers who want to connect with more brands.

These tools are great news for brands who have added the content marketing trends of microinfluencers and video to their brand strategies.
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#DeleteFacebook: How can the social media giant bounce back?

THE HASHTAG WAS popularised by Twitter. Now it is being used to criticise the company that owns Twitter, on Twitter. #DeleteFacebook is only the latest proof that the social media giant is in trouble. Fake news, falling stock, glaring data breaches. A 9% drop off Facebook’s shares. Mark Zuckerberg’s world-beating platform is in the middle of a public reckoning. Maybe it’s about time.

The problems started last year. Facebook was accused of missing Russian hackers who had penetrated the platform to meddle with Western elections. Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, admitted that the site was made to exploit human vulnerabilities. A former executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, went one further, saying Facebook was ‘ripping society apart’. And things got worse from there. Reports of Cambridge Analytica’s massive harvest of Facebook user data surfaced last week in what Quartz called a ‘certifiable s***show’. It transpired that this very same Cambridge Analytica, whose boss was caught on camera boasting about using ‘beautiful Ukrainian girls’ to entrap his clients’ political opponents, was crucial to Donald Trump’s presidential victory.

But the truth is that the public have been turning against Facebook for some time. What began as a social network, used by friends and acquaintances to keep in touch, has become something else completely. Rather than consolidate, Mark Zuckerberg and his team have tried to make Facebook everything to everyone over the past few years. Social network now seems an inadequate description of something used by businesses, flooded with advertisements and saturated with news. Young people and millennials increasingly prefer Instagram or Snapchat. To this demographic, Facebook has become ‘establishment’.
Those in the reputation management game have been watching these events play out with interest. Needless to say Zuckerberg’s rumoured 2020 presidential run now looks unlikely. Convincing the public that Facebook is not corrupt or greedy, that it isn’t taking your personal information or promoting real fake news is a full-time job. First, Zuckerberg needs to show some transparency, a lack of which has plagued the valley he helped to make a household name. He showed some of this on Wednesday, when, contradicting a spokesperson who said that Cambridge Analytica had ‘deceived’ the platform, admitted that ‘at the end of the day’ he was personally responsible. That’s a good start, even if Zuckerberg did take five days to reply to the scandal in the first place.

Regulators in Europe and the U.S. are investigating claims that Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica as early as 2015, but did nothing to alert users. It may not be true, but if it were, it would not be surprising. Facebook’s attitude towards accuracy and privacy has always been over-casual, and the social media giant has often been slow to admit to its own failings. Remember how in early 2017, Mark Zuckerberg said the idea that fake news had played a part in the presidential election was ‘pretty crazy’? And remember how in September, Facebook said firms linked to the Russian government had only spent $100,000 on 3,000 adverts, cheerfully ignoring the fact that upwards of 150 million users had seen free posts by Russian operatives? This has to stop, and if Facebook has many more skeletons in the closet, now is the time to open the doors and deal with them.

Users, meanwhile, need to know what information is being taken from them and why. Small print buried deep in the terms and conditions is not enough. They also need to know what their Facebook addiction is doing to their mental health. When Facebook acknowledged the detrimental effects of the platform on the mind in December last year, it said the solution was to use the platform more––only in a different way that improved well-being. Wrong answer.

But maybe it’s not Facebook themselves who will solve their problems. In many quarters, the belief is that it is high time that an independent party scrutinised the platform and its approach to privacy and data, not to mention its role in various elections. An independent examination like this would need to be through, and its findings publicly available. Why? Because the reality is that even if Facebook commit to transparency, a large number of the global population won’t believe they’re being told everything they should.

Bloomberg predicts that 2018 will be even worse for Facebook than 2017 was. Unless the social network wants that trend to continue into 2019, there needs to a be a dramatic change. What’s certain is that Mark Zuckerberg and his senior team at Facebook have their work cut out.
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YouTube Is America's Most Popular Social Media Platform

In a survey published by Pew Research Center at the beginning of March, it was revealed that the number of American adults using YouTube online or on their phones had climbed to 73% — more than Facebook, which came in at 68%. Several other social media platforms including Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp also factored into the survey but there was a sheer drop off in people following Facebook, with the third most popular app Instagram coming in at just 35%.

Over 2000 adults were surveyed about their social media habits over a week in January 2018, spanning different age ranges, genders, ethnicities, education and geographical factors. Unsurprisingly, the average American will use at least three of the mentioned platforms and social media usage was further broken down into 88% of 18-29-year-olds at the highest end versus 37% of Americans aged 65 and older.

Facebook and YouTube dominated across the board, however, YouTube usage spiked to a whopping 94% in the 18-24 demographic with Facebook trailing behind at 80%. While the total number of Snapchat and Instagram users may not hold a candle to either, they did however capture a large percentage of the 18-24 demographic at 78% and 71% respectively.
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Facebook should be regulated, Mark Zuckerberg has said after apologising for the leak of 50 million users’ data to a British company accused of interfering in elections. Asked if he was worried by pressure from governments,
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Filipina Model Irish Ong on Her Hong Kong-Based Influencer Marketplace

Filipina Irish Ong has been a model since she was 14 years old both locally and abroad. She was even spotted on the runway at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week in 2014. You might have also seen her on season 5 of Supermodel Me, a show that focused on 12 Asian women who wanted to take modeling to the next level.

Although her career was successful, she felt she could do more. With the rise of social media culture and her move to Hong Kong, she saw an opportunity to apply the knowledge she gathered from her modeling experience. She then co-founded a company, AlphaConcepts.Co, that fills in the gaps between businesses and influencers, something that advertising agencies may lack. Yes, she is the CEO and co-founder os AlphaConcepts but she still models. And when she’s not working, she’s traveling to different countries, soaking up the culture and sharing it on Instagram. Yup, she’s the definition of a boss lady.

Read more:
@preenonline on Instagram
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Nike turns customers into influencers

Nike believes in using customers as influencers and approaching them as a media channel with co-creation at the fore, according to a senior executive at the sportswear company.

“People either buy it, or try it. Anything else is fluff,” declared J. Siva Shanker, Nike's head of brand connections and media for Southeast Asia and India, at the recent eTail Asia conference, where he was one of the panelists in a discussion on brands and social influencers.

“At the end of the day, what are we trying to do? We are trying to get people to either know our story or buy our product,” he said. (For more, including the importance of authenticity, read WARC’s report: Nike’s three principles of influencer marketing.)

True influence comes from the mass adoption of your brand’s products, Shanker believes.

“Making your customers the influencers is the secret to this… If you can give them tools, if you can give them access to your brand, that is when you’ve turned customers into influencers,” he said.

“If you have something that you allow people to open it up and tell on social media to a million followers, now people have something to do, versus just to like or to share. There is a call to action: ‘What do you want me to do? Can I be a part of this?’” he explained. “The power of social sharing is the key.”

Whether the influencer is “truly an advocate of your brand” makes all the difference, Shanker added.

For example, Nike recently worked with Thai rock star Toon to support his effort to raise funds for 11 local hospitals in the form of a 55-day run. He ended up raising US$33m through donations and auctioning off the four pairs of the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% shoes that he wore.

“The most important thing is, we didn’t sponsor the posts. What we did was, we helped him achieve his goals. When you see the content, it makes sense: ‘Oh, I get it. He’s doing this, he’s running, therefore he needs good shoes’. When you deal with really big influencers, you really need to have what they are passionate about,” Shanker said.
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