Teens Are Leaving Smaller Social Networks – Moving Primarily to Snapchat and Instagram

My Thoughts: It was only a matter of time before more of the social networks died off and even teens started to congregate amongst the larger ones. While it’s true that teens like to be “rebellious” and go places where the “grownups aren’t,” they also do want to be where others are – as a social network isn’t worth much when there aren’t any other users on it.

It’s kind of like eBay in that regard – sure, other auction sites can and do exist, but if you want to be in engaging with the most people, you go where they people are. Plus, as these larger networks continue to drive user growth and revenue they are able to reinvest that capital into the network platforms themselves, making them much more valuable of destinations for the users.

Today’s social networks are a far cry from the scrappy startups they were just a decade ago. Today they are multi-billion-dollar companies with massive R&D and marketing budgets, which are in turn causing the smaller networks to be less attractive. After all, who wants to invest their efforts into maintaining a presence on a social network that has less features and fewer users – especially when all the coolest features just get copied by the big guys eventually anyway?

Teens are consolidating their social network activity around four main social networks: Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and have stopped using smaller ones such as Kik or Tumblr, according to a new survey from investment bank PiperJaffray.

Source: Teens are dropping smaller social networks in favor of Snapchat and Instagram | Business Insider India

Snapchat Users Are Very Likely to Watch a Brand’s Entire Story, Report Shows – Adweek

My Thoughts:

Seriously? An 88% completion rate on brand story video? That’s ridiculously high – and even more proof that SnapChat is turning into the place to be for digital marketing and storytelling.

I’ll have to dig in to this more. The issue I always have with SnapChat is the difficulty in discoverability. Might be time to dive back in and see how things have changed.

When Snapchat users viewed a brand’s story, they watched the entire story nearly 88 percent of the time.

Source: Snapchat Users Are Very Likely to Watch a Brand’s Entire Story, Report Shows – Adweek

Hashtags continue to lose in this year’s Super Bowl | ClickZ

My Thoughts:

I’m frankly surprised it has taken this long for hashtags in commercials and advertising to die off like they have. While I understand the desire to try to drive conversation around your brand, and allow for easy ways to both discover and measure that conversation, the simple fact is this: people don’t like to be told what to do.

When you’re pushing a hashtag from a commercial point of view, particularly one where it’s all really around trying to build some kind of viral marketing campaign, people see it and shy away. Social media hashtags are much more organic, and are adopted in the same manner. They arise themselves out of conversation, and aren’t something that can be forced.

It’s like trying to “make fetch happen.

That said, I do agree that having a hashtag promoted that ties into something that is specifically conversational can make sense. For example, The Walking Dead has done a great job of promoting the hashtag #TheWalkingDead around their broadcasts, as there is a strong community of fans who are eager to live chat about what’s going on while an episode is broadcast (or share their thoughts afterwards).

The difference here is that they are giving a community a specific hashtag through which to funnel an already existing discussion, instead of trying to force a discussion to happen in the first place.

According to a report, references to hashtags appeared in just 30% of Super Bowl 51’s commercials this year, down from 45% a year ago.

Source: Hashtags continue to lose in this year’s Super Bowl | ClickZ

A Quick Hack for Awesome Image + Text Content

Image + Text Typography Content Is Easy (and Awesome) with This Tool

I gotta be honest. I was a little hesitant to share this hack I use for creating image + text content since it gives away a bit of my “magic” – but it’s just too good not to share.

If you use any kind of social network, you’ve seen the images of nicely formatted quotes or affirmations etc. overlaid on nice photography and backgrounds. They’re a great visual (and engaging!) way to get a short message across – so much so that Facebook even recently added in the ability to put background colors behind your text posts as a way to emulate their effectiveness.

But making beautiful graphics is hard, right? There’s certainly a lot more to well-formatted typography than just sticking some text over and image and hitting save (trust me, I’ve tried it). So how do you get the same kind of professional-quality images of your own to share?

Easy. There’s an app for that.
Read more

Free Webinar: Social Media MUSTS for Building Your Author Platform

Your “author platform.” It’s something every author hears about, and how important is to build one. Whether you’re a self-publishing or going the traditional publishing route, it’s an absolutely key component for any modern author’s success.

Now, there’s a lot of parts to building a successful author platform, including your website, blogging and guest blogging, author and book tours, live events, etc. – but in my experience the area where people seem to struggle the most to make sense of it all is in social media.

It’s been almost 10 years since I published by first novel, and I’ve been a professional digital marketer (I’m the ex-CMO of one of the top-500 e-commerce companies and one of DMN’s Top 40 Under 40 Marketers for 2016) for almost 20 years. So yes, I’ve been around the block. But one of the most important aspects of my success has been in understanding the ins and outs and pluses and minuses of most digital communications platforms.

I want to share what I’ve learned building a world-leading brand as well as my own personal platform with you.

Be aware though that building your author platform alone can’t guarantee sales. For that to happen you’re going to need to write a great book that people want to read. The quality of the product and level of appeal to consumers are going to be extremely important in turning your platform into sales. I’m not a best-selling author … and mostly it’s because what I prefer to write isn’t quite in the mainstream. But what I have done is connected with thousands of other readers and writers and built a strong brand around myself as both an independent author and digital marketing expert.

So, with all that said, there are a few absolute MUSTS that you should be doing with your social media when building your author platform, including a special section on what platforms you need to be on (and why), how to engage with readers and authors in ways that best work on each platform, and how to build your social media platform with strong cross-channel integration in mind.

I originally wanted to share this via a blog post, but honestly there’s just too much information to share and it makes much more sense when I can walk you through it all. So instead I’ll be hosting a live webinar where I’ll go through this all, and even have it open for questions from the attendees so you go away with actionable tips specific for your needs on how to best grow your author platform using social media.

Social Media Musts for Your Author Platform


11 Eye-Opening Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week | Adweek

My thoughts: Lots of cool info here … but two things in particular stand out to me: the fact that there’s a guy who gets 6-7 million impressions per Instagram post (I’m still trying to hit 500 followers!) and that over 50% of women interviewed say they have bought something due to influencer marketing.

I mean, I knew influencer marketing was a pretty hot marketing method, but that’s some strong influence. I do wonder if all those surveyed would buy something that an influencer recommended if they were told that it was a sponsored post.

Also, Twitter you gotta up your game. You keep slipping like this and you might disappear on us – and you’re too important a medium to follow in the footsteps of your Vine initiative.

Last week, holiday shopping dominated a steady stream of digital marketing stats. During the last several days, the data points were more varied, providing a cornucopia of marketing intelligence. Here are 11 numbers that caught our eye: 1. IG > TW Is Twitter about to officially fall to third place for social marketing platforms?

Source: 11 Eye-Opening Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week | Adweek

Snapchat’s Biggest Risk Is Ingrained in Its DNA

Earlier today I was talking to a colleague about valuations (and overvaluations) of a lot of tech companies, and in particular how the “get users at any cost” model appears to finally be showing some cracks (which make sense, since the whole concept of monetization has never been realized by most of them). Naturally, discussion veered to some of the hotter platforms out there now, including Snapchat.

I’ve been using Snapchat myself for a month or two now, after seeing my wife become addicted to it a few months earlier and finally giving in to see what all the fuss is about. My colleague has used it in passing, but it hasn’t caught on for him. Given that we’re not the demographic who’s using Snapchat the most, we turned our discussion away from “why is this popular?” to the more pressing question: “why is this worth so much, and how do they ever plan to make this profitable?”

Of course, Snapchat has been rolling out quite a few features lately that can bring in money – the most promising of which I think is their sponsored filters/effects. So they’ve got their eye on profitability, or at least some sort of revenue stream – and they’re doing it in ways that actually make sense as part of the platform rather than just sticking ads into people’s streams – but this brought up a much more important question. Is the lack of advertising and the lower usage of Snapchat by the “older” demographics part of the reason for its popularity? Is Snapchat so popular with the younger demographic due in part to the fact that they feel its a kind of club of their own?

If that’s the case, it’s entirely possible that as advertising and monetization move in, and as Snapchat becomes used by all the “grown ups” out there, the current large userbase might bail. It’s also possible that they will stick with the platform due to the inertia they’ve made in it, much like how Facebook users have stuck with Facebook as they’ve gotten older. In other words, Snapchat may not always be popular with the “younger” demo, but instead that younger demo may become accustomed to having Snapchat as part of their lives and its usage demographics will shift as the users shift. Same user group, different demographics over time.

The problem with this though is that Snapchat has a very serious risk that is built directly into the DNA of the product. By its very nature of “auto-deleting” posts after view, or even only having rolling windows of 24 hours for stories, Snapchat’s value only lies in the current space in time in which it exists. Over the course of a year, someone may engage with the platform thousands of times, but none of that has any historical record or value. Basically because you can’t go back and see what you did six months ago, your investment into Snapchat holds no value to you.

This is where platforms like Facebook have built up such resilience to customers simply abandoning the platform. With Facebook you have a historical record, like a virtual scrapbook, that you can go back in time and view. Throughout the time you’ve spent interacting and sharing you’ve built up a history that includes major amounts of data and information, all of which you would in essence “give up” if you were to abandon Facebook. Instagram is similar with its photo timelines, and Twitter with your tweet history. Snapchat has nothing of the sort. Yes you might build up a bunch of connections, but those are easily transported to a new service.

A good comparison from an e-commerce / tech perspective would be to think of switching analytics providers. If you’ve spent the last 10 years gathering your data into Adobe/SiteCatalyst, you have a lot of information (a vested interest) in the platform. Even if Google Analytics is better and cheaper, the cost of switching is huge because you lose all the information you have stored there (ignoring data exports, of course). The point is, all that data and historical interaction is of great value. An analytics platform that only told you what happened in the last 24 hours would be susceptible to major churn when something else hot comes along – and Snapchat is in the same boat here.

I don’t think Snapchat is anywhere near the end of its days – in fact I think it still has a lot of room for growth. But there’s a big risk built in to the way they work that makes them much more at risk than any other major platform in memory in that they have really no investments from their users that can be leveraged for continued brand loyalty.

The good thing is that with this risk, they will be required to continually innovate to keep users engaged. But once the new hotness comes into town, the exodus could be like nothing we’ve seen before (even counting the death of MySpace).

My Pick for Social Media Management: Sprout Social

If you’re running a business and you have a social presence (which you better have if you plan on being relevant), it can quickly become overwhelming to manage all your accounts. This can become even a bigger issue if you have more than one person managing your social accounts. You also need to be able to keep an ear out for voice of customer and to help with any incoming support requests or other customer questions.  Basically social’s a two-way street of communication, and there are a ton of lanes.

You can find a lot of options out there for social media management, especially at an agency level, but after all the ones I’ve gone through I recommend Sprout Social the most. You can manage Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ channels, schedule posts, create tickets to route messages to the right people on your team, etc. It also gives a good chunk of analytics, tying in to your Google Analytics even if that’s something you do.

Most importantly, with my team we encourage multiple people to be able to post to social. We follow brand voice guidelines of course so that the message is always consistent, but by getting people from different departments or backgrounds out there on the account we’re able to provide a much larger breadth of communication than we could with just one “social media manager.” The problem with this though is that you can get too many people talking at once, and your message becomes garbled. Again, Sprout helps with this as you’re able to see who posted what, when, schedule posts, see what’s in the queue to be published, etc.

So, long story short, if you’re looking for a good solution on how to manage your social media, check out Sprout Social. You can do a free trial too. It’s how I started with them and as soon as I saw they could solve my issues, I signed up for the larger package (professionally/business-wise, that is – for personal social media I do it all native to the platform).

Bonus? Their support team has been awesome.

… and no, they didn’t pay for this. It’s just an endorsement / recommendation of a tool that I use that I’ve had success with, to help you more easily find success too.


Update on April 14th – Sprout just reached out to me to say thank you for the article. I didn’t even tell them I posted it. So they’re monitoring obviously works, and they were classy enough to say thank you. That’s like a bonused bonus.