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Social Media in 2017, Not much change, but lots of progress

Last week I attended the MRS Social Media Summit in London, and was struck by something that at first seems to be a contradiction – not much change over the last seven years, but lots of progress. Not much change! Back in 2010, I published The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research. Nothing presented at the Summit was fundamentally different from the picture in 2010, in terms of the aims of the tools, the range of approaches adopted etc. Lots of progress! Compared with 2010, researchers and research users are much better at using social media in a research context, in particular using blended techniques that use social media in conjunction with other approaches. Social media hasn’t changed, it has simply got better. Key Themes from the Summit The one day MRS Summit, well curated and chaired by Marc Brenner, provided several interesting themes and lessons for research providers and users alike, including: Blended research is often the key to success Social media is more than just Twitter WOM is more than just Social Media The human element is still essential Blended Research The main theme of the day was the benefit of blending social media research with other […]

My take on social media – Sue Cardwell

Guest post by Sue Cardwell, marketing manager at Infotools Sue is a keen proponent of effective data visualization for business success. Sue has 10 years of experience in the consumer insight field across several countries. She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand and works for Infotools. Sue is an inveterate blogger and self-confessed chart geek who loves creating new vizzes in her spare time. Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series. If you would like to contribute a post to this series contact admin@newmr.com. “Do you want to allow this app to post to Facebook?” No, I did not! I felt each new socially-connected service was an invasion of my private life. I was a classic lurker: someone who watches what other people post on social, but is shy about sharing. But I’m also a marketer. We get excited about the shiny new toys of social media. Gradually I found my barriers being broken down in favour of the benefits I gained. Time for a major attitude shift. As I gained confidence with social sharing, I made the decision to embrace transparency. I am who I am, and I’m happy for you to see […]

My take on social media – Maya Middlemiss

Guest post by Maya Middlemiss, Managing Director of Saros Research, a UK-based company specialising in market research recruitment. Click here to see a list of the other posts in this series. If you would like to contribute a post to this series contact admin@newmr.com. This post focuses on what social media means to Saros Research. Research participant recruitment is all about connecting with people, reaching out to potential new audiences – and the social media revolution of recent years has given us an amazing array of new tools with which to do this. Our social media and content creation strategy is at the heart of our database development process, alongside a range of powerful offline tools which will always be needed as well. We create and curate extensive content to introduce the idea of research participation to people, and encourage them to register as potential participants – via our own blog and also guest blogging (such as a resident slot at Birds-on-the-Blog). Having pioneered database-driven recruitment in the UK since the turn of the millennium we are aware that there is still a vast potential audience out there who simply don’t know they can get paid to share their views […]

Book Review: Stephen Rappaport’s The Digital Metrics Field Guide

One of my favourite social media/listening books is Stephen Rappaport’s Listen First!, so I was delighted when his new book ‘The Digital Metrics Field Guide’ was announced, and even more delighted to get a copy to review. The book has been produced and published by the ARF and you can download an interactive PDF from this link on the ARF site. The Field Guide is free for ARF members and $29.95 for non-members. To produce the book Stephen reduced a list of about 350 metrics to 197 and backed these up by referring to almost 150 studies, which illustrates the claim that online is the most measurable medium. The book covers four digital channels: email, mobile, social, and the web, and produces a really easy to use reference for anybody interested in the area. To make things easier Stephen has organised the information in three ways, Alphabetical, Category, and Marketing Stage – to deal with different tastes and preferences. 12 Fields per Metric The book is organised in terms of 12 fields per metric, including: where it fits in Paid/Owned/Earned, its category, a definition, and the sorts of questions it answers. The use of a standardised format makes it much […]

Why social media mining and monitoring have met with limited success in Market Research?

OK, let’s get one thing clear from the outset; I am not saying social media mining and monitoring (the collection and automated analysis of quantitative amounts of naturally occurring text from social media) has met with no success. But, I am saying that in market research the success has been limited. In this post I will highlight a couple of examples of success, but I will then illustrate why, IMHO, it has not had the scale of success in market research that many people had predicted, and finally share a few thoughts on where the quantitative use of social media mining and monitoring might go next. Some successes There have been some successes and a couple of examples are: Assessing campaign or message break through. Measuring social media can be a great way to see if anybody is talking about a campaign or not, and of checking whether they are talking about the salient elements. However, because of some of the measurement challenges (more on these below) the measurement often ends up producing a three level result, a) very few mentions, b) plenty of mentions, c) masses of mentions. In terms of content the measures tend to be X mentions […]

Ask, Measure, Learn – Lutz Finger and Soumitra Dutta

I’ve just finished reading this book and I would strongly recommend it to anybody seeking to understand the methods and challenges of measuring phenomena in social media. The book is probably stronger on talking about things that don’t work, as opposed to things that do work, but in this time of hype that is probably no bad thing. For example, the book shows why the ROI of many types of activities can’t be measured without making some large assumptions about how things work, and point out that in many cases it is the ‘R’ in ROI that is the problem. Key themes addressed by the book include metrics for different sorts of social media activities, the problems of assessing causality, the tension between influencer models and homophily, and the difference between reach and intent. The book provides an excellent list of links to further sources (especially if reading the ebook), and provides a great overview of measurement in areas such as social media marketing, CRM, sales, and PR. This is the best primer on the subject I have read so far and it is, at the moment, sparklingly up to date. The print copy of the book is not currently […]

Facebook still dominant in the UK – even amongst the young!

Every week we seem to get a new report saying that Twitter, or Pinterest, or instant chat apps have knocked Facebook off its perch as the number one social media platform in the West, especially amongst younger people. One day this will be true, but not this year, nor next, nor (probably) the year after. In partnership with Vision Critical’s Springboard omnibus I have re-run a study we first ran in August 2012, looking at social media usage, and focusing on regular social media usage. The data show two big messages: Facebook dwarfs other social media. The pace of change between 2012 and 2013 is glacially slow. Table 1 shows how many people said that they had used each of the listed forms of social media in the last year. The Vision Critical Springboard omnibus is broadly representative of Great Britain, but since it is an online survey, the figures for social media exclude the (approximately) 15% of Britons who do not use the internet. Table 1 shows that in terms of social media used in the last year, in the UK, there was very little change between 2012 and 2013, other than a drop in the claimed usage of […]

Are Instagram and Facebook Crazy? They want to sell your photos!

The BBC is reporting that Instagram, recently bought by Facebook, is altering its privacy policy to allow third-parties, such as FaceBook and advertisers, to access its members’ information and to use their pictures without permission or recompense. Yes, it is being reported that Instagram is going to be selling your photos, without asking you, without paying you, and without an opt-out! Instagram/Facebook are not proposing to offer an opt-out of this commercialisation of people’s pictures. They have said, reportedly, that people who are not happy must leave instagram by January 16, 2013 – just under a month from now. CNET has a story titled ‘Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos’ and Wired is offering advice on how to protect yourself with its article ‘How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account’. If the reports are accurate and if Facebook does not change its mind I would expect Instagram’s, already weak, user base to largely disappear and for Facebook to face a backlash from users and perhaps legislators. Facebook paid $1Billion for Instagram, it could soon be worth very, very much less than this. In a recent post on Vision Critical University I showed […]

Social Media Research and the Trough of Disillusionment

At the Festival of NewMR, Wednesday 5th December, I will be presenting a summary of where social media research is at the moment and where it is going next. As part of that presentation I will be exploring why I think social media research is heading into what Gartner have termed the Trough of Disillusionment. This post explores what I mean by this prediction. The term social media research has two definitions, a broad one and a narrow one. The broad definition includes social media mining and listening, netnography, communities, smartphone ethnography, research into social media, and social media as a sample source. The narrow definition refers just to the seeking out and collection of large amounts of naturally occurring social media conversations and comments – this definition includes social media listening and mining. It is this narrow definition of social media research that I think is heading into the Trough of Disillusionment. It should be noted that the Gartner Hype Cycle is a loose description of a repeatedly seen phenomenon – it is not a law and it is certainly not a specific mathematical formula. But it can help understand what often happens to new technologies. Social media research’s […]