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The social media news this week...

Ford integrates dealers with Facebook

Ford Facebook PageFord has been developing its customer services within the social space for a while now, but has recently turned its attention to its dealerships. As part of Ford’s FordDirect DealerConnection Vehicle Showroom (VSR), any of its potential customers can check on vehicle availability via their local dealer’s Facebook page.

FordDirect is a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and its franchised dealers to create a comprehensive web presence for dealers and provide digital marketing services that help dealers sell more cars and trucks.

VSR includes unique interactive search functions, filtering and keywords search that provide the users with the desired selection in real time.  In addition, unlike other video inventory tools, VSR switches automatically to an HTML 5 version for users who access it via an iOS device maximizing the users' experience and the dealer's ROI.

"With the constant evolution of consumer vehicle shopping, it is important for dealers to provide the most enhanced online customer experience," said Valerie Fuller, COO of FordDirect. "DealerConnection Elite offers a customizable and controllable web solution that helps dealers attract interested car buyers whether they are searching from their computer or smartphone and turn them into customers."

M&S becomes first UK app partner for Samsung Smart TVs

Samsung Smart TVThe smart TV market is likely to explode over the next year or so. The recent CES event was awash with Internet connected televisions. Retailers have already experimented with this channel in the past, but with a high profile retailer like M&S throwing its weight behind Samsung’s connected TVs, consumers are likely to add which services these televisions have available to their buying decision.

The new App which is available to download from Samsung’s Smart TV App store today, and is developed in collaboration with the multichannel video agency Adjust Your Set, will give viewers access to the latest in high street trends as well as tips on lifestyle, food, fashion and technology all from the comfort of their living room.

Guy Kinnell, Marketing Director for TV, Samsung UK comments:  “The development of the M&S Smart TV App highlights the popularity of Smart TV as the most immersive and interactive format for consumers. The M&S Smart TV App brings new lifestyle content from a trusted consumer brand, as well as give people a snapshot of how consumers will be able to shop in the future.’’ 

“The development of the M&S Smart TV App highlights the popularity of Smart TV as the most immersive and interactive format for consumers. The M&S Smart TV App brings new lifestyle content from a trusted consumer brand, as well as give people a snapshot of how consumers will be able to shop in the future.’’

Susan Aubrey-Cound, Director for New Channels Marks & Spencer commented:  “We’re continually exploring innovative, new ways to engage and interact with our customers. This app enables customers to discover more about our products and innovations from the comfort of their living rooms, whilst supporting our broader marketing channels.”

Samsung Smart TVs have a Smart Hub that opens up content from specially designed Apps, the Internet and other access points directly from the TV. The Smart TV also acts as the entertainment hub for the home as it connects wirelessly to other devices such as smartphones, laptops or tablets so users can show photos or stream music on the big screen.

Only about a third of tweets are worth reading

TwitterAccording to research carried out over December and January by Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Georgia Tech, only about a third of tweets warrant any time spent reading them.

"Social networking sites currently take an optimistically positive view of status updates," says Paul André, graduate student at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science. "Facebook enables users to 'like' their friends' updates, and Twitter has 'favourites'. But this ignores the value that could be gained from understanding which updates are disliked and why."

Michael Bernstein, PhD student at MIT, comments: "Analysing the negatively rated tweets, and the consensus that forms around them, will help us understand the emerging approved or accepted norms in these new forms of online communication." 

"Analysing the negatively rated tweets, and the consensus that forms around them, will help us understand the emerging approved or accepted norms in these new forms of online communication."

The researchers offered some lessons to make your tweets more interesting and engaging:

  • Old news is no news: Twitter emphasizes real-time information. Followers quickly get bored of even relatively fresh links seen multiple times.
  • Contribute to the story: Add an opinion, a pertinent fact or add to the conversation before hitting "send" on a link or a retweet.
  • Keep it short: Followers appreciate conciseness. Using as few characters as possible also leaves room for longer, more satisfying comments on retweets.
  • Limit Twitter-specific syntax: Overuse of #hashtags, @mentions and abbreviations makes tweets hard to read. But some syntax is helpful; if posing a question, adding a hashtag helps everyone follow along.
  • Keep it to yourself: The cliched "sandwich" tweets about pedestrian, personal details were largely disliked. Reviewers reserved a special hatred for Foursquare location check-ins.
  • Provide context: Tweets that are too short leave readers unable to understand their meaning. Simply linking to a blog or photo, without giving a reason to click on it, was "lame."
  • Don't whine: Negative sentiments and complaints were disliked.
  • Be a tease: News or professional organizations that want readers to click on their links need to hook them, not give away all of the news in the tweet itself.
  • For public figures: People often follow you to read professional insights and can be put off by personal gossip or everyday details.

TV ads prompt smart phone users to respond

iPad Video AdsThe use of video right across the commercial web has been growing rapidly over the last year. Corporate users with YouTube channels are also testing how video can be used in other areas of the social media they use. New research from the IAB suggests that video can be highly engaging.

With nearly 50% of those surveyed stating they have searched for product information after seeing a TV ad, suggests that s similar behaviour is likely with online video as well. In addition, over 50% of consumers would use their mobile phone to look for product or service information, with over a third actually completing a transaction with their handset. The vast majority of users still prefer to use their PC when making an online purchase.

In addition, it is becoming clear that the tablet market continues to grow with the IAB’s research suggesting that tablet owners spend nearly five hours a week browsing retail sites. Clearly video will play a major role in their buying decision. A report late last year from Affiliate Window showed that conversion rates on tablets are nearly 4% when compared to less than 2% for desktop PCs. TV and online video is clearly still a powerful tool that all retailers should be exploiting.

Facebook leads social gaming popularity

Facebook GamingA new infographic clearly shows that Facebook leads the pack when it comes to choosing a platform to play games within the social space. The infographic shows that Facebook commands the largest share of this market at 61% with Google+ at 17%. The devices that gamers user is also revealing with 66% using tablets to access their social networks and play games. From a commercial point of view gaming is certainly working with spending on gaming up 60% since 2009.

What’s next for social video?

Volkswagen’s ‘The Force’ adReporting at the beginning of this year, Unruly released their report that looked closely at how video would become dominant as the advertising platform within social media. New report in association with Decipher Research, shows that video aids with brand recall when this is recommended via social media.

The important factor is the recommendation. Over 70% of those surveyed recalled the brand that the video related to, with only 68% recalling the brand if they arrived at the video without a recommendation. The most astonishing statistic to come out of the research was that 97% said that if they enjoyed the video they would be likely to make a purchase.

Video clearly works as the Unruly report described: In February 2011, Volkswagen’s ‘The Force’ ad stormed the Superbowl to become the most shared ad of all time in just six days, jumping from 100,000 to 1,000,000 views in just a few hours. When Charlie Sheen joined Twitter in March, he gained one million followers in 25 hours and 17 minutes, winning the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to a million followers.

Sarah Wood, COO at Unruly said: “If a brand creates great video content and makes it easy to share, it will see impressive results across the entire purchase funnel."

Starbucks use AR for Valentine’s Day promo

Starbucks customers can experience the latest version of the Starbucks Cup Magic app just in time for Valentine’s Day. Originally launched during their earlier holiday campaign, the Valentine’s Day-themed interactive app brings limited-edition Valentine’s Day Starbucks hot cups to life with augmented reality technology.

Connecting the digital world with the Starbucks store experience, users can download and enjoy the app to celebrate every love in their life. Customers simply download the app to create and send a personalized Valentine’s Day message or Starbucks Card eGift.

In Brief...

How not to use social media

Big brands it seems still have a lot to learn about how to develop an engaging media campaign using social networks. 02, Snickers, LAFitness and McDonalds have all committed a faux pas, with Snickers being investigated by the ASA. Over at the econsultancy a round table discussion looked at each case in turn, that generally concluded that big brands are still on a steep learning curve when it comes to social media.

Customer service has to be social

Web user experience experts Webcredible have added their weight to the debate about whether customer service will inevitably become a component of every businesses social media activity. Looking closely at how consumers now like to handle their customer services enquiries and their positive responses to brands just after Christmas, Amazon and Argos score highly. With the Y generation (born between 1981 and 2000) now controlling $170bn of spending power in the US alone, keeping this group happy is now a corporate priority.

Pinterest on the rise

Referrals on Pinterest are outstripping those on YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn according to a new study from Shareaholic. Facebook of course reigns supreme when it comes to referrals, with Google+ now moving past 100m users, but seeing its referral traffic down slightly.

Concrete best practice on how you can measure your social media impact

 

As you know, here at USM we have been looking into social media impact and measurement, something that many still struggle with. Seeing social media deliver $ is still a contentious issue, so we’ve put together some selected findings that might help clear the issue up. You can pick them up for free here. http://www.usefulsocialmedia.com/impact/index.php

The find out more about the subject and the report we’ve created with Whole Foods, HP, Adobe and many more visit - http://usefulsocialmedia.com/impact/

Until next time….

The Useful Social Media team.