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15bits-online-review-articleInline“It’s pretty clear exactly who writes fake positive reviews on the Web: friends or relatives of the author or the shop or restaurant owner, or sometimes the author or shop owner himself. The goal of fake positive reviews is to increase sales, and the reviewers are the ones who benefit, or want their friends to benefit…But who writes fake negative reviews, denouncing stuff without any obvious reason?

Until now. A fascinating new academic study sheds light on the fake negative review, finding not only that the source is totally unexpected but also that the problem is much bigger than a few malicious operators.”

 http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/why-web-reviewers-make-up-bad-things/

 

With so much digital data now available, the potential for PR or Social Media teams tasked with social listening now have the opportunity to become the most invaluable resource any company can have.  These teams can now learn more about how your key stakeholders behave online than ever before to the benefit of the entire enterprise. That was the theme of last week’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud webinar with Chuck Hemann, Group Director of Analytics at WCG.

With marketers currently swimming in data, Hemann notes that social channels can truly become a new frontier for research for several reasons:

  • They are open, unfiltered channels
  • They offer real-time market-driven conversations
  • They can provide an early warning system for competitive intelligence
  • It’s hard to make a move now without leaving some type of digital footprint
  • While there’s plenty of noise, there’s plenty of value in the signal with proper filtering

Hemann feels the research landscape is changing dramatically thanks to these new technologies and outlined a few trends he sees emerging in digital analytics.

Here’s a look at five of those emerging trends: http://www.salesforcemarketingcloud.com/blog/2013/06/trends-in-social-listening-analytics/

Social-Listening-Analytics

 

 

Watching television while also using a smartphone or tablet is one of the most popular leisure activities of the mobile era.

The mobile industry is working hard to create mobile apps and sites that relate to what’s on TV, in order to capitalize on this behavior.

This approach is often referred to as the “second screen,” the idea being that the tablet or smartphone becomes a TV companion device, allowing for added levels of interactivity— whether on social networks or dedicated second screen apps and sites that complement on-air content.

bii_2ndscreen_income-1

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/second-screen-industry-set-to-explode-2013-6#ixzz2VSztxRg2

With 13 million views in one week on YouTube, kmart’s “Ship my Pants” catchphrase caught on fast.  It was a successful experiment in social listening, allowing the kmart marketing team to see wether or not they were on to something before moving to more traditional channels like print and television.

With a dedicated in-house, data-driven, social media team, they closely monitored reaction to the spot…You put things online, you get reaction, you get real-time feedback and data, and then you can make the decision on how big and bright you want to go with it.

Due to the campaigns success, kmart has plans to use similar tactics with their back-to-school campaign.  Read more: http://www.fastcocreate.com/1682826/how-kmart-used-social-listening-and-some-nerve-to-create-a-ship-my-pants-funny-viral-hitkmart

A week after the Boston Marathon bombings, questions emerged about why authorities didn’t take more interest in the suspects based on their social media posts and their alleged visit to a terror-related website.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100659920

speech

What’s on our minds today? This:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

All from Martin Luther King Jr.

He would have been 84 years old this year.

 

We just wanted to take a few moments to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. We hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends. Our best wishes to you all.

Safe travels, everybody.

Cheers,

The Tickr Team.

We’ve already talked about the many commercial uses for digital monitoring tools, how they are becoming increasingly valuable to public relations firms, marketing groups, customer service departments, product and brand management teams, CEOs, even investors. And we’ve only scratched the surface there, you we will have plenty of opportunities to dive a little deeper into those areas on this blog. The basic premise of every one of these discussions is that digital channels are simply sources of information. The more connected people are via these channels, and the more people publish information on these channels, the more we know what is going on in the world.

By “information,” we don’t mean people publishing photos of their sandwiches or their new shoes on Instagram. We aren’t talking about the infectious posting of political memes on Facebook, or pictures of super cars and outfit ideas on Pinterest, or sharing their current TV programming choice on GetGlue. All of those categories of publishing are great, they come in scales of value which we could discuss until we’re blue in the face, but what we mean by “information” is stuff that will become news within an hour, once news networks have looked into it and confirmed it.

One of the many game-changing aspects of digital media, especially social media, is that it has changed the way we find out about things. Being plugged into the digital hive puts us within earshot of a global grapevine. The result is that we can learn about events taking place in the world in real time, and in many cases faster than news networks themselves. If a 7.2 earthquake shakes a city in Turkey, we’ll know about it long before CNN reports it. If a SEAL team raids a terrorist compound close enough to a neighborhood in Pakistan, someone will tweet about hearing helicopters and explosions before the story ever breaks on TV. If a tornado touches down five miles from where a Texas resident lives, chances are that they will find out about it on Twitter before the emergency sirens ever go off. Whether you are a brand manager monitoring digital channels for signs of an impending PR crisis or a citizen monitoring digital channels for the latest piece of relevant news, having the power to control how and when information comes to you is becoming an expectation, a commodity, even. We all want and need fast, real-time notifications and information relating to pretty much anything that matters to us, professional and otherwise.

To get an idea of how social media – and Twitter in particular – have changed the information landscape in the last few years, let’s look at before and after snapshots of information velocity in regards to news creation and circulation:

 When we developed Tickr, our idea was to provide decision-makers and brand managers a tool that simplified monitoring and filled very specific functionality gaps in the monitoring solutions market. Whether an organization was still thinking about digital monitoring in terms of having a social media manager working with a couple of screens in a cubicle somewhere, or developing a state of the art dedicated mission control center with 10-15 giant screens and rows of workstations, we wanted Tickr to be the overwatch app, the one eyes fell on first. The one that would, in the blink of an eye, give you the most complete snapshot of what was going on in your world, good, bad and otherwise. We made it clear, we made it simple, we made it portable. What we hadn’t expected though is that people would start using Tickr for a lot of other types of monitoring, and not just to do brand management and business intelligence work.

We’ve seen everything from Amber Alert and Hurricane Alert Tickr pages to Zombie Apocalypse watch pages pop up in the last few months. We have also seen an increase in pages focused on keywords like terrorism, scandal, election, explosion, storm, even the word “breaking,” which is pretty clever. Someone shared an Iran Crisis Tickr page with us this week, even though there is no Iran crisis yet (and hopefully won’t be). When we asked the creator of that page why he built it, he told us that a lot of the Tickr pages he saves into his library are what he calls “what if” pages. He’s an online reputation management professional (which is to say he works in corporate crisis management), so that kind of forward thinking goes with the territory. He explained that he is also a news junkie, so his digital monitoring savvy bleeds into that part of his life as well.  Put Google alerts and Tickr side by side, and you have yourself a simple but very effective early warning system for just about anything you want. PR crisis, natural catastrophe, even missiles heading towards your house. And here, we come to the catalyst for this post: how Israel’s live-blogging of their missile strikes on Gaza might be a bit of a game-changer when it comes to the role social and digital media now plays in warfare, and how that affects both the role and importance of digital monitoring in 2013 and beyond.

This from All Things D‘s Mike Isaac:

The Israeli Defense Force, the official military arm of the state of Israel, has launched a full-scale combat campaign against Hamas, the Islamist party that governs the Gaza Strip area of the Middle East. But instead of holding an official press conference, as is protocol for events as major as these, the IDF took a different tack. It announced its campaign via Twitter.

[...]

It’s a fascinating case study into the realm of social media, and the ever-evolving role of the social channels in the political arena. Recently, Web-savvy political organizations wielded Facebook and Twitter as major strategic tools in the U.S. general-election campaigns. And during the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia in 2010, Twitter was methodically used to facilitate and organize demonstrations of civil resistance, ultimately playing a part in the toppling of multiple despotic regimes in the Arab region.

It seems, however, that the IDF is using social in a different way entirely. It is a veritable “Shock and Awe” online assault, with Israel live-relaying updates on the combat situation. Among the tweets are updates on the successful interception of enemy fire against Israeli troops, citations of Hamas-backed violence against Israel and briefs on sites inside the Gaza Strip which Israeli forces have attacked. Perhaps the most jarring of the IDF tweets came stapled to a single photo of a top Hamas leader; The IDF broadcasted the confirmed assassination of Ahmed Jabari (seen above), complete with Jabari’s headshot and a list of his alleged offenses.

If you are old enough to remember CNN’s live coverage from the first Gulf War in 1991, then you are old enough to remember that the world of news changed that day forever. In one night, CNN changed the news game forever. A decade from now, when we look back on this week’s live-blogging of Israel’s strikes on Gaza, we might think of it in a similar way. Whether it becomes a lesson about the wonders of real-time information or dangers of real-time digital propaganda remains to be seen, but the world is a little different today because of how the IDF used social platforms this week.

The lesson here is that media is evolving, and with it the velocity of information sharing. A hundred years ago, information came in the form of a newspaper or a magazine. Media was print. It took time. There were delays. Even with the telegraph and the development of the telephone, news traveled slowly. Seventy years ago, radio started to edge out newspapers in terms of the velocity of news. Then came television news, then 24-hour news channels, and the internet, then social, then mobile. Today, our portable devices ping us whenever we get an email or a text or a tweet or a breaking news item we care about. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing. If we want to, we can be notified of any kind of development anywhere in the world on our phone or tablet. All we need is the right technology and a little foresight to set up our very own customized alert protocols. To put this evolution in perspective, take a look at the next timeline/graph (see below).

In 2010 66% of media consumption was digital. By 2020, that number will jump up to 80%. Look at the acceleration in media consumption in the last hundred years. Look at the shifts in channels and technologies.

If you know what you’re doing, and you want to keep a competitive edge, however you were collecting information, data and intelligence a year ago won’t be the way you will be collecting it a year from now.

But with all of this, a word of caution, again from Mike Isaac:

 The IDF’s updates are coming fast and furious, but the information isn’t necessarily being verified in real time. It is possible that the IDF could be spreading misinformation strategically.

 There is a difference between a vetted journalism entity like CNN, the Associated Press or the BBC covering a news event in real time, and a non-neutral entity publishing its own information in real time.

This may be a good time to remind everyone that there is a very big difference between monitoring and analysis. Monitoring alone isn’t enough. Whether you are focusing on a PR crisis for a brand or following a developing news story, be aware that as social media becomes increasingly integrated into corporate, special interest and government communications programs, propaganda and misinformation will invariably become more prevalent there. So far, most efforts to publish disingenuous information in black hat campaigns on social platforms have been foiled. Fake bloggers posting fake updates are increasingly easy to spot. But through trial and error, social misinformation campaigns will become more sophisticated, and there isn’t a tool out there that can automate the process of determining real from fake information. You will still need to vet your sources, confirm statements, do your research. Organizations and individuals with the right tools for the job and the right best practices in place will have an advantage over everyone else, but it takes forethought, it takes diligence, and it takes a thorough understanding of what tools are needed for the job.

If an hour is an eternity in the digital age, even two minutes could make an enormous difference in the life of your organization or in your own. That’s the new reality of the digital age we live in. The advantage increasingly goes to those of us – corporate and not – with the fastest and most reliable monitoring and analysis practices.

Food for thought.

 Follow our feeds on Facebook and Twitter for a lot more updates and information about social business, digital media, monitoring and market intelligence. (We promise we won’t spam you.)

And if you haven’t yet, start building Tickr pages right now. It’s simple and quick, and you can take them with you everywhere you go.

We’ll keep things simple: no matter who you’re rooting for, today’s a big day in politics. A historic day. Either President Barack Obama gets four more years, or Mitt Romney wins his bid for the White House. Most US political polls have the candidates in a dead heat. Voter suppression efforts seem to be getting some attention in various parts of the US. Voter turnout is still, as we write this, a big question mark. A lot of things could happen in the next 48, maybe even 72 hours. One of the two candidates could win in a landslide and the whole thing could be over by midnight. Or it could be a virtual tie, and the election could be dragged out for days.

What we know is this: The next couple of days will be the biggest political event in social media’s short lifespan. Millions of people will be tweeting, blogging, updating their Facebook accounts, posting photos and videos, discussing their experiences, their opinions, their hopes and fears and dreams. Millions of people will be sharing their election with the rest of the world, and for those of us who study human behavior online and offline, it’s going to be a fascinating experiment in qualitative and quantitative digital data mapping.

To make your digital experience as fun, rewarding and immersive as possible, we’ve put together a short list of digital tools you might want to dedicate a screen, device or browser tab to.  If you have any to share that you feel should figure on this list, definitely share them with us. We’ll add them.

1. Build a 2012 Election Watch Tickr page.

Track news, blog posts, tweets, instagram photos and more on just one self-refreshing page with a timeline-based activity graph. You can drill down into every time block and see what’s going on, or you can just let the content windows give you a general sense for the latest news and opinions. It’s really easy.

If you don’t have a pro account, just use the free trial version. You won’t get every single piece of content that the pro and enterprise versions would dig up, but you will get a pretty good feel for what is going on. Anything that goes viral or gets any traction at all will turn up in the feed. (In a way, the free version turns out to be a nice skimming-off-the-top option sometimes.)

Click here or on the screen shot below to go to the page we already set up for you. If you want to build your own election watch page, click here and follow the simple instructions.

2. As poll results start to come in, test out possible scenarios with the Wall Street Journal’s interactive election map. See if you can predict the outcome of the election before anyone else does. It even has the 2004 and 2008 election maps for you to reference, which is kind of handy. Check it out:

3. As results get more certain as time goes by, use the New York Times’ 512 Paths to the White House online app to help you quickly understand where things can go next. All you have to do is scroll your cursor over any part of the tree to see where things go from there. When a state gets called, click on it (above the graph) and the app will rebuild the graph for you. If either of the candidates gets the required amount of electoral votes to win, you will be rewarded with their beaming mug. It’s slick and clever, and we really like that one. Here’s what it looks like before the counting begins:

4. Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog has been one of the most talked prognostication resources this year. This is your chance to see if the numbers guy was right (again). There are tons of great resources on that page, so definitely devote a tab to it. You’ll want to consult it regularly.

 5. Still from the New York Times, also check out the interactive electoral map. We like the geovolume blocks & bubbles design. It’s also interactive, so you can let the site create scenarios for you, or you can create your own by just moving the states around from one side of the screen to the other. Pretty slick.

 

Note: Many of these tools also allow you to track state and other elections, so feel free to dig deeper than the big Presidential race.

Between those five tools, Google’s Politics & Elections page and your favorite TV channels, you should be set to track the final sprint of the election like a pro.

If you have time, don’t forget to come say hi to us on Twitter and Facebook. And may the best candidate win.

Cheers, and see you on the other side of this one.

Update:

6. Here’s another cool interactive resource you might enjoy. (Hat tip to Sally Crunch – @MaverickNY on twitter –  and Jamie Cara Kennedy.) It’s C-Span’s historical map of the electoral college. By scrolling along the timeline, you can see how every presidential election played out since 1900 (McKinley-Bryan). You’ll be seeing red and blue for days, but it’s a fascinating way to visualize history using a simple political map.

Return to Tickr.com

The social web hasn’t just revolutionized communications between people (and communications between brands and the public). It’s also revolutionized the way organizations operate when it comes to monitoring conversations that relate to them, their industry, their products and their campaigns.

For the last few years, digital agencies and brand management teams have been leveraging social media platforms like twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Google + and others to monitor conversations and mentions of their brands. This alerts them to shifts in popularity, perceptions and sentiment, overall mindshare, market relevance, the effectiveness of their customer-facing efforts, and an increasingly long list of insights that help them gauge the effectiveness of their activities.

Gone are the days of lengthy, expensive, labor-intensive 3rd party market research programs. Most of what happens in the real world of brick and mortar stores and cash registers and physical products that people can touch and feel finds itself projected online, primarily through social networks. If someone buys your product and loves it, they will share what they love about it with their friends. If they hate it, you can be sure that they will share that as well. Every experience relevant enough to be shared will be, because it can be. This is the new reality of the digitally connected consumer. Good or bad, this phenomenon yields its share of advantages for brands seeking to identify areas of positive influence on the market and areas where they still have a little work to do. Knowledge, after all, is power. And the kind of real-time, multi-channel monitoring available to brands today makes brings with it a tremendous amount of actionable knowledge.

If a consumer is particularly connected, the entire path from product discovery, shopping, purchase, unboxing and usage will be systematically documented across a breadth of platforms. At any given time, a photo of your product or retail location may be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest (to name a few). User reviews, whether positive or negative, will invariably turn up on blogs, consumer-facing websites, and in the social stream of online retailers from Amazon to Overstock. If your brand reaches enough people, thousands of micro-mentions relating to you will flood the internet every hour. Making sense of it all, organizing the noise into some kind of manageable signal, takes a bit of deliberate focus. You need tools that will help you both quantify and qualify shifts in positive and negative perceptions, for instance. You need to build internal mechanisms that will help you sort through that mess of mentions and identify valuable insights and triggers like customer service opportunities, product improvement recommendations, and possible Public Relations crises looming on the horizon, for starters.

The complexity of this task increases with the reach of the brand. Here, size (of the market) matters. For some, the process can be relatively simple. For others, entire departments have to be mobilized (or created outright) in order to address this brave new world of brand intelligence and brand response needs. You need qualified people. You need big computer screens. You need specialized  software. Before long, what started as a loose collection of laptops and digital displays starts to grow into a formalized mission control center. This is the natural evolution of brand management in the social business age. Still somewhat novel in 2012, mission control centers will be part of every organization’s infrastructure by the end of the decade.

This raises a lot of practical questions: how do we build something like that? What will I need? Where do I start? How much will it cost? What tools should I use? These are all excellent questions, and over the next few installments of this series, we will try to point you in some helpful directions. For now though, the best thing is to look at what some companies are already doing in the mission control space, and see what we can learn from them.

If you want a couple of places to start, look at what Dell, PepsiCo and Edelman Digital have done already. They are among the first organizations to have embraced and experimented with the mission control concept. In fact, check out this video from PepsiCo showcasing Gatorade’s very own mission control center. (Disclosure: Gatorade uses Tickr.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InrOvEE2v38&feature=player_embedded]

If it all seems a little complicated for the average company, don’t worry.

1. The video was cut to look complex and exciting.

2. Most brands don’t need that degree of complexity (at least not yet).

3. (And this may be the most important reason not to fret…) while some tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use, others are designed to simplify the monitoring process rather than making it more difficult (or pricey). We understand the need for both, but we prefer to fall in the easy to use category. Less headaches that way.

One of our goal at Tickr, for instance, is to provide a tool that requires virtually no training but offers our users powerful, easy to digest, relevant information on one screen and in real-time.

Sure, you can drill down into tweets and sources, or run reports when you need to, but the idea is to give you a clean, actionable snapshot of conversations and content being shared about your brand right out of the box. Our design is purposely simple, our features deliberately easy to use, and the entire user experience behind the tool built to be as intuitive as possible. You can use Tickr as a stand-alone monitoring dashboard or as an integral part of a more complex monitoring ecosystem like Gatorade’s. It’s entirely up to you.

If you’ve been a little gun shy when it comes to building a social media mission control center from scratch, an easy way to get over that hint of tech anxiety is to take a few minutes to test-drive the most basic version of Tickr: our free trial. (Yes, it’s free.) You won’t be able to create multiple search tabs or access every single source or menu item in the free version, but it will give you a pretty good feel for what Tickr can do and how easy it is to use. Once you’re in Tickr and building pages of your own, it won’t take you long to figure out why it is already a staple of mission control centers for digital agencies and brands: it’s simple, slick and powerful  but really simple. Nothing overwhelming about it. The Pro and Enterprise versions are loaded with additional features, but just as user-friendly.

Take a test drive and let us know what you like (or dislike) about it. We’ll take it from there.

(To be continued.)

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