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Facebook IPO Drops, The Death of YouTube, New MBTA App & So.Cl Network Launch

 

Top Story: Facebook IPO – Sick of the Word “Bubble” Yet?

We couldn’t really avoid this topic because we’ve been anticipating Facebook’s IPO for a few years now. Two trading days after Friday’s delayed IPO, Facebook stock is down nearly $4.00.  Financial pundits are declaring another digital “bubble,” pointing to the fiscal disappointment of Groupon’s initial offering in 2011.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, this begs the question – if Facebook, THE behemoth of social media and most profitable model, can’t create confidence amongst investors – who can? Businesses are reaping huge benefits by engaging with their audiences on these platforms – when will their stakeholders benefit from their success? We think Facebook stock will rise – the numbers behind Zuckerberg’s social experiment prove that there is money to be made. We’re definitely not proclaiming social media to be a bubble and running for the hills – we’ve seen the value in the hands of our clients every day. And though we’re not financial analysts, we think this temporary setback may be a case of inflated egos and valuations – and really bad timing.

 

Under the Radar: Is Social Video Contributing to the Death of YouTube?

 

Are you still watching videos on YouTube? Or are you turning to mobile apps like SocialCam and Viddy to get your amateur video fill? Reports are showing that people are still uploading plenty of video to YouTube, but are users still watching YouTube videos like they used to? Or is mobile usage turning people away? Let’s be clear on one thing. YouTube is now about to die any time soon. GigaOm just reported that the platform has seen its video uploads grow 50% in the last year. Perhaps, putting a number on that would make it a little bit more “real.” The website reports that users are uploading 72 hours of video to YouTube every minute. Last year they only uploaded 48 hours a minute. Kind of blows your mind, doesn’t it?

So, users are clearly still uploading video to YouTube. But are people watching that ridiculous amount of video? ReadWriteWeb recently reported, in a post asking whether social video would kill YouTube, that “From January to March, people spent 10% less time watching YouTube videos online.” Yet, users of mobile video apps jumped 52% in how long they spent viewing mobile videos. So, if more people are watching video online, why is YouTube’s viewership dropping?

It likely has something to do with easy-to-use and easy-to-share mobile social video platforms like SocialCam and Viddy. You’ve likely seen it yourself. More and more videos featuring SocialCam posted on your Facebook newsfeed, whether it’s your friends posting them or notifications that your friends are viewing them. Why? Because everyone is becoming a videographer these days and we’re doing it from our mobile phones. It’s quick and easy and no need to hook your video device up to your computer. Plus, applications like SocialCam and Viddy give you lots of simple editing options to add a little pizazz to our video. These services are just a bit more “with it” than the “traditional” YouTube.

And we’re likely watching videos on these platforms more because we care about what our friends and acquaintances on Facebook are doing more than strangers on YouTube. Unless that stranger happens to have an absolutely amazing voice and makes national news for their covers on YouTube. Then we’re all about watching.

 

Around the Hub: New MBTA App – It’s About Time!

The MBTA is definitely one of the hottest topics in Boston social media.  From delays and complaints to just plain strange occurences, people love to Tweet out their feelings and observations about the Hub’s public transportation system.

Now, the MBTA has released an app to make it easier to “see something, say something,” (if you’ve ever ridden the T, you’ve heard that familiar line). The purpose of the app is to facilitate reporting of suspicious activity on trains, buses, and in stations. Reports can be sent by type and location and users have the ability to upload a photo with the touch of a button. One cool feature to note- the photo feature automatically disables your flash so that your detective work goes unnoticed.

 

The app also offers an “Anonymous” option to protect the reporter’s identity and further encouraging sharing. All in all, we feel like this app is a more viable and helpful alternative to tweeting “#MBTA #FAIL” – but we don’t want the entertainment of MBTA tweets to go away, so please keep sharing!

 

Tool of the Week: Microsoft Launches Network So.Cl – Combines Search & Research For Students

In the wake of the tidal wave announcement of Facebook’s IPO over the last few weeks, Microsoft has quietly launched a new social network that is going after Facebook’s old audience; college students. So.CL left beta yesterday after a year of testing with a group of college students.

The network is said to NOT be going after Facebook, Twitter or any other large network, mainly because its core goal is to combine research (with search engine integration) and sharing for students. The core of So.Cl seems to combine Pinterest and Google+ into one digital research based sharing network. Users can create boards of Web content and information and easily share with peers or onto the network in general. Microsoft’s thought process is that as a group, students are researching many of the same things, and could benefit from collaboration. So.Cl looks to enhance this by adding easy file sharing, group messaging and group video messaging.

It appears Microsoft’s goal is to get students using Microsoft products, even if it is a free social network, with the hopes that they will continue to use Microsoft products in their daily lives in general. This is a steep hill to climb due to the fact that Apple is the trendy pick for any technology savvy college student (and that is who So.Cl is targeting). I applaud the effort for customer conversion, but see it being a lost cause in the long run if they cannot rival Apple in actual product appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is the Early Release of Super Bowl Commercials Beneficial?

With the big game on Sunday, it’s almost impossible to go online without seeing something pertaining to the Super Bowl. While I enjoy hearing about the Patriots, one thing that really caught my attention has been all the talk regarding the widely anticipated Super Bowl commercials. I like Super Bowl commercials just as much as the next person, but I was surprised that I am already seeing the full commercials before the game has even happened. Did I miss something? Isn’t the point of paying 3 million dollars so the commercial will have its big debut during the Super Bowl, not weeks before on the internet? Well I really thought about this and tried to figure out the reasoning behind this new marketing strategy. While at first I was rather confused by this approach I do think it can have a positive impact for some companies, but definitely not all.

I just recently saw Chevy’s 2012 Super Bowl ad “Happy Grad,” a simple yet memorable commercial. Although it was posted early on the internet, it is greatly entertaining, which puts Chevy in a good position for when it does air. People are already talking about the commercial, which adds to the anticipation of other viewers. Instead of just being viewed during and after the Super Bowl, Chevy’s ad is being seen before the game has even started. The “Happy Grad” ad has already had 905,921 views on the popular site YouTube. The commercial will have a much longer lifespan than ads that are waiting to air on Super Bowl Sunday. This strategy has also given Chevy the advantage of having a larger return on investment by allowing their commercial to circulate for a longer amount of time on the internet and television. People will constantly be seeing the Chevy brand, giving them more incentive to buy from them. While this is a risky strategy, it works for Chevy because they have a good commercial that viewers find desirable.

While Chevy will most likely see a positive impact from releasing their commercial early, not all companies will get the same outcome. Another 2012 Super Bowl ad done by Lexus is called “The Beast.” Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well don’t let the name fool you because this commercial isn’t that special. When I began watching it, I was pretty interested, but then it became rather predictable and unexciting. I really didn’t find it entertaining and wouldn’t be too excited to see it again during the Super Bowl. While this may be my personal opinion on the ad, I think many people would feel the same way about seeing a commercial in the future that they didn’t even enjoy the first time. For me, now that I have already seen this commercial, I really don’t feel a need to pay attention to it again during the Super Bowl. I think this is a great downside to companies posting commercials that aren’t very entertaining and enjoyable before they are supposed to air. People already know what the ads are like and may not have an interest in them the second time around. Now that this Lexus ad has been around for over a week, people might even be sick of it by the time it actually airs.

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Overall I think it’s a pretty risky strategy to post your Super Bowl commercial before the actual game. You really have no idea how people will react to your ad and once it’s out, it’s out.  Viewers like the element of surprise and seeing Super Bowls ads before the game just doesn’t have that same effect. While some companies like Chevy may see a positive outcome from posting their ad, not all will get the same response. I was really surprised to see this happen this year and while I may understand the reasoning a little better, nothing beats seeing new commercials on Super Bowl Sunday.

Do you think releasing Super Bowl ads early is a good strategy? Will it detract from watching on game day? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!

Thanks to @bonnielester530 for this week’s post!

Bonnie is a 451 Marketing Marketing Intern. She is a senior at Worcester State University majoring in Business Administration.

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FedEx Takes a Tumble

When I first saw this video of a FedEx employee throwing someone’s computer monitor package, I didn’t think there was much to it. I was dead wrong. Like my fellow members of the Y-Generation, there is nothing a like a viral YouTube video-turned-scandal to lift your spirits. However, even with all my psychic powers (that I believe are a direct result from watching Practical Magic too much), I could not have seen the public relations bomb that was about to hit this mega courier company. Eight million hits later, FedEx realized that they have a crisis at hand.

Let me give the back story: a stupid employee, in a rush for ‘outstanding’ service, simply tosses a flat-screen computer monitor over a customer’s gate, without even bothering to ring the bell first. Clearly, foolish people will always have jobs. I mean, Paris Hilton has her own business. Need I say more?

 

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FedEx took what seemed to be the ideal route: address the problem upfront, and simply apologize.

 

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Now while Matthew Thornton, Senior VP of FedEx Express U.S. Operations, did hit the necessary points in his web address, I would not call this a victory for FedEx as some of my fellow PR professionals have. Yes, Thornton was upfront. Yes, he apologized as soon as the video started to go viral. These points were all good things for FedEx. But many consumers and employees alike feel the video is too scripted and inauthentic. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want this guy to give the speech at my wedding, no matter how many luxury homes in Spain he offered to buy me (hint, hint family and friends). The fact of the matter is that many employees and customers are taking these videos as opportunities to vent their intense frustration with the company. While this video cooled some of the fire, it hardly extinguished it. For many, Thornton’s apology pissed them off even more, because it was so contrived and, to them, not genuine. Many have stories of their own about how FedEx has done them wrong.

 

 

What seemed to really bother many users was lack of disciplinary action they believe the employee received. Thornton only vaguely alludes to the fact that the employee won’t be directly dealing with customers. So now he’s just throwing the packages around where we can’t see him? Hmmm…

Did FedEx’s apology help? Yes. Was it necessary? Of course. Did the entire situation end in a victory? Now that might be going too far. Sometimes, you just can’t win, even with a great PR team, and especially with a poor public speaker.

What do you think? Do you consider Thornton’s video a victory, or even helpful at all? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet to us @451heat

 

-Ryan Schreiner, 451 Marketing Public Relations Intern
Ryan is a Junior at Boston University

 

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YouTube Gets Social and a Mayor Becomes a Mayor

 

Top Story: YouTube Gets Social

YouTube is getting a makeover! Yes, you heard right, YouTube is going to have a clean, simple, and more social interface than before. It’s going to feel a lot like watching TV.

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With their new design, YouTube is trying to get us to click around, stick around, and become more social on their site. And after spending some time exploring the new design, we think they’ll be seeing success. However, they still have a long way to go in getting us to choose YouTube over television on a daily basis.

You can think of the new design as sort of like the YouTube version of DVR. With hundreds of new channels launching soon, (from celebrities and well-known personalities) YouTube wanted to give us a better way to organize our favorite channels, making it easier for us to watch. The new homepage succeeds in making it simple for us to see what channels we’re subscribed to, which ones are recommended to us, and which are popular and trending. It also gives us a quick way to share our videos with connections on Facebook and Google Plus. Admittedly, we found that the new homepage is making it much more common for us to get sucked in and fall into that endless clicking hole – which is exactly what YouTube wants.

Will the YouTube redesign have us canceling our cable and watching YouTube channels for our television fix? Definitely not. The content on YouTube’s channels is still just not as good as it is on television, though we are interested to see if channels from Ashton Kutcher, Jay-Z, and the like can change that. Also, unlike television, we still can’t fall into that lazy mode, where we keep watching and watching. Even with YouTube’s redesign, we still have to actively seek out and click on videos to watch. But they’ve certainly made that a lot easier for us to do.

 

Under the Radar: A Mayor Becomes a Mayor

Take a Foursquare tour of the city with Mayor Bob Buckem of Tampa, FL. Get insider tips and earn your badges!

Foursquare is all about connecting with other people. We have seen celebrities join, but for the most part they don’t actually want people to know exactly where they are. Politicians on the other hand, always want citizens knowing where they are going and what they are doing for their respective cities. This is what Tampa Mayor, Bob Buckhorn, has been doing. He recently has taken it to the next level by creating a ‘Tour of Tampa’ within Foursquare.

There is obvious value in this for someone who is a heavy Foursquare user visiting Tampa, but what is really interesting about this is that Mayor Buckhorn has started an initiative that is really pushing Foursquare and LBS’s (location based services) into the mainstream. This proves that LBS’s can serve more of a purpose than just finding where your friends are and occasionally getting discounts. The more practical uses that can be demonstrated, the more people are likely to use them and in turn the more businesses will embrace it.

 

451 Labs Tool Review: Buffer

Never know when to publish content on your twitter feed? Buffer is a platform that is here to help you engage your Twitter followers by taking tweets and publishing them at certain times to procure the most engagement.

 

We certainly have enough experience with tweet scheduling services, using Hootsuite and TweetDeck on a daily basis. So, our main goal here was to see if Buffer could set itself apart from those other easy-to-use services. Buffer’s main draw is that it does make scheduling tweets a bit easier. Instead of being forced to choose a specific time for each tweet we’re scheduling, the service lets us pre-define the times we want our tweets to be sent out. So, all we have to do is add our text and links to the “buffer” and let the service do the rest. That is, if we want our tweets to go out at the same times every day.

We loved that there’s a Buffer Bookmarklet for easy sharing. Instead of heading to Twitter.com or our preferred application, we can simply click on the bookmark extension and schedule our tweet without leaving the website we’re on. We also love that Buffer’s analytics allow us to see sent tweets, along with their retweets, clicks and estimated reach.

At first we were excited by Buffer’s suggested tweet option. But after playing around with it on different Twitter accounts, we found that the suggested tweets were not very well-tailored to the type of content we generally tweet out. They also included many advertisements for the service. Fair enough, considering the service is free to use with 1 Twitter account and 10 tweets in a queue at a time. If you want to use Buffer with 3 Twitter accounts, schedule 50 tweets at a time, and add a team member, it will cost you $10/month.

So, does Buffer really increase clicks by 200% as many claim? We didn’t see quite that high of a click-through rate, but we’ll continue experimenting with Buffer. It does make timing tweets simpler. But as we’ve known all along, it really is about tweeting valuable content that’s the most important factor in soliciting clicks and re-tweets.

 

According to Fantana’s research, 60% of the time it works every time. (Tweet This!)

 

Around the Hub: 31 Nights of Lights

Boston’s Prudential Center features “31 Nights of Light”

Every December the Prudential Center “lights up” to support Boston’s non-profit organizations. Many of these organizations will host fundraising events at the shops to raise awareness on their cause.The Prudential Center Tower is using its colorful combination of lights (often best known for supporting the Sox, B’s, C’s and Pats) to support a different charity for all 31 days of December.

This is a brilliant use of the Prudential Tower, which is a landmark of Boston, because it makes use of existing resources (the lights) to help align itself with 31 great charity organizations. The Tower is seen by millions every day, and the constantly changing colors will grab the notice of many.

The Prudential Center itself does not do a large amount of marketing, so this is a good way to push out their brand image – which is focused on supporting Boston (charities and sports). The month of supporting these organizations is also a good way to tap into the large networks of all of the charities, many of which are large national groups. It looks like the Prudential Center tower has found an eye catching and relatively easyway to execute to build their brand image and support some great non-profits this winter.

 

 

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Get Hired Using Videos, Blogs and other Social Media

With 9.2% nationwide unemployment and an increasing number of qualified people looking for jobs, applicants are becoming more creative in the job search.  For example, the paper resume has taken a back seat to the “digital interview” as YouTube is becoming an emerging platform for job seekers to showcase their expertise, skills and talents to prospective employers.

Using YouTube as a platform for job applications is more personalized and can be more effective than a resume when done correctly.  Video is a great way to “brand yourself,” reach a broader audience and highlight special talents that may not stand out on a traditional resume.   Additionally, video is a great way to show your personality and demonstrate who you are beyond words on paper.

Blogs are another useful way to pop up on the radar of a hiring manager or corporate executive.  Use blogs to strategically place yourself directly in front of targeted companies, by using search optimization and strategic content creation.  However, make sure that you create relevant content and attract attention in a positive way.  SlideShare is also another great way to communicate your knowledge and creativity in your field of expertise.

Some Tips:

  • Promote yourself and be creative, consistent and honest; build authority with your target audience and followers
  • Post videos and blogs links on your website (if you have one), and remember to tweet and post to Facebook to increase visibility
  • Make sure your contact information is visible so you can actually be reached
  • You never know who is watching – if you have an idea for a company, build it and share online
  • Enter contests hosted by companies you might like to work for – this is a great way to stand out from the pack and increase your chances of landing a job
  • Use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters, and learn more about the companies and the people who work at them

Social media is powerful and can put you in front of the “right” people in your job search as your build your network.  Remember to reach out to your social network often, offer valuable information and continue to look for new ways to build your brand.

Have you used social media to find a job or learn more about a job?   What worked for you?  Do you think social media will come to replace the traditional resume in the future?

-Jenn Smith

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