Which PR Metrics Will Give You The Best Indicator Of Brand Reputation? [VIDEO]

The modern PR professional has access to numerous online measurement tools, all of which provide important insights about your brand’s reputation and prove value. However, to effectively quantify your PR efforts you need to look closely at how well you are getting your message across by measuring whether your coverage references your key messages, the quality of the media presenting your information, the way it’s perceived and how this meets your PR objectives.

These four metrics will provide important insights into your audience, how they perceive your brand, when and where they receive their information, and will strengthen your relationship not only with the media but also your clients.

Key messages and topic penetration

Your key messages should align with what your business or client is aiming to communicate with their audience. While any positive coverage in the media is valuable, it’s vital your key messages come across the way you want them to, so your audience receives a coherent message across multiple platforms. Also, if your key messages are highlighted in the media, you’ll have tangible results to show your PR efforts are generating valuable discussions.

Source quality

When you’re measuring media coverage, it’s better to focus on quality over quantity because not all mentions will result in a positive contribution to your campaign. It’s about being published in the media outlets that matter to you. For example, reaching ten raving fans will be more valuable than targeting fifty members of the public with no direct interest in your product, brand or client. We recommend you segment your preferred media outlets into tier 1, 2 and 3 (in order of relevance and potential target audience reach) to help prioritise when and where you send your press releases and statements.

Sentiment

Sentiment analysis identifies and categorises the way in which your client or brand is expressed in the media. Fundamentally, you want to look at tone – is it positive, negative or neutral? Depending on your PR objectives, you want to ensure the positive or neutral tone articles outweigh the negative ones.

Share of voice

Share of voice is your media performance/coverage in relation to your nearest competitors and can be used to measure the strength of your client or company’s media presence. It can be measured in terms of reach, size of audience, relevance of audience or overall volume of coverage. Knowing your share of voice outlines where your opportunities and threats lie, and helps you plan for future PR campaigns.

You want to utilise these four metrics on a daily basis to sustain your PR efforts and achieve your objectives – ultimately reinforcing the value of your PR planning and activity.

About the author:

As the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, Mimrah Mahmood help organisations across the Asia-Pacific break down media data (social, print and other media) and make business decisions from insights; create a framework to progressively and scientifically track efforts in PR and marketing; build a road-map to improve your communication plan; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is proud to be advocating better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications for many of the largest MNCs in Asia-Pacific.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!

Top 5 Instagram Marketing Trends CMOs Should Prepare for in 2018

If your brand still doesn’t have a social media marketing strategy in place, you’re falling behind. Social media has become an integral element of every brand’s digital marketing strategy (and with reason). With major social media networks like Instagram growing at such a rapid pace, it’s hard to ignore the impact social media has in the marketing space.

Pictures are better than a thousand words… And no platform demonstrates this better than Instagram. Instagram is increasingly becoming the important social media channel in a comm pro’s toolbox. That’s why keeping up with Instagram marketing trends are fundamental. The visually-driven social media network has seen immense growth over the past year and isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Its effectiveness as a channel for brands to reach their target audience, which will continue to be the case in 2018.

As marketers, we recognize the immense opportunity Instagram offers brands in being able to reach their audience like never before. In a digital world where social media carries such significance, CMOs simply cannot avoid integrating Instagram into their 2018 strategy.

Marketers Share Ultimate Instagram Guide for CMOs

To fully leverage the potential of Instagram, CMOs need to take a forceful approach in crafting their marketing strategy for the new year. However, experienced digital recruiters know a thoroughly-prepared plan isn’t merely enough – a strong team of marketers capable of supporting your strategy is what makes it truly effective.

While there may be no perfect solution to make your Instagram marketing efforts successful, there are a few key measures to take to drive desired results. Here are 5 trends digital marketing recruiters encourage CMOs to focus on in 2018 to ensure their team is fully equipped to take on the new year.

The Rise of Instagram Stories

When Instagram first released its Stories feature a little over a year ago, it received mixed reviews as some saw its potential while others thought of it as just another tactic to copy other social media applications like Snapchat.

However, its popularity has soared among both users and businesses over the past year. Instagram Stories allows users to share daily moments with images and video that disappear after 24 hours. This makes it easy for content creators and social media marketers to create compelling content and advertisements that are easy to consume.

Instagram is supported by Facebook and its forceful advertising features – this allows CMOs to take advantage of tools such as Power Editor and Ads Manager to control how often they target their audience and tools that provide insight into the performance of their campaigns.

Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories offers a feature that allows users to play with face filters and is the perfect way to have fun with your stories. In addition to advertising and promoting your brand, marketing recruiters encourage CMOs to use Stories as a way to present company culture and introduce members of your team in an entertaining and carefree way. This allows your audience to see that you’re not just a money-hungry company but rather a brand that they can personally connect with!

Video Content Is [and Will Be] King

Video is one the most effective forms of content in the digital marketing landscape. This type of visual content is extremely powerful and allows brands and marketers to create immersive content that will effectively drive engagement and create a unique experience for their audience.

In today’s competitive digital space, you simply can’t avoid implementing video into your content strategy. Thus, recruiters stress the need for CMOs to build a team of marketing talent who understands the power of video and is capable of producing dynamic video content. Whether you’re using video content to post to your Stories, or posting a preview of a YouTube video on your profile, high-quality content that is a thumb-stopper drive the most engagement so a team of experts is critical.

Influencer Marketing Continues to Thrive

Collaborating with influencers is still a powerful method of reaching core audiences you may never have had access to before, and will continue to boost brand awareness and engagement in 2018. When you find the right influencer to represent your brand, it can become one of the best ways to reach a wider audience organically.

Depending on how big their following is, the power Instagram influencers can have is incredible. Influencers with hundreds to millions of followers are able to introduce your brand and help you reach new communities of people you don’t have access to through other channels. However, the number of followers shouldn’t determine whether an influencer is a right fit for your company. That’s why marketing recruiters recommend identifying social media marketers that are able to seek out influencers whose values align with the brand.

The influencer community on Instagram is massive with an even larger cohort of followers that cross numerous demographics and groups. By combining the right offer with an influencer that accurately represents your brand image, you will see a significant return on Instagram marketing.

Marketing Is Nothing Without Data

Accounts that are business profiles have access to Insights, Instagram’s analytics tool. Insights allow you to access data that can be used to significantly improve your Instagram marketing efforts and campaigns. With access to insights regarding impressions, reach, website clicks, follower activity, video views, and saves, you have the opportunity to learn more about your audience and their needs. Understanding your target audience and how they intersect with influencer audiences can help you co-create engaging content they want to see. That’s why a media monitoring platform can give you additional insights about your followers, your influencers, their followers, your competitors, and your industry keywords.

Use these insights to learn about your consumers and engage with them. Ensure that you have a team of marketing analysts that can understand data and translate it into actionable information. The tools you use are only as good as the human intelligence you have to support them.

Engage, Engage, Engage!

Digital recruiters recognize that brands often neglect to pay enough attention to the engagement and interaction with users on their own page. This is a big mistake as abandoning great content is an unfortunate way to hinder additional engagement. Something as simple as a ‘like’ on a comment or a thank you reply will show that you are truly invested engaging with your audience.

Re-purpose content from the user – post pictures or video from users that involve your products or services. This is a fairly simple way to interact with your audience and post unique content. The more users see you engage with your audience, the more they will return that back.

Use relevant hashtags to boost engagement with your posts. By creating a trend of hashtags unique to your brand and re-posting user-generated content from those hashtags on your page – this will is a fairly simple way to drive user engagement.

Show your followers the human side of your brand – organically interact with them by following them back, replying to their comments and re-posting their content. This will do wonders in boosting brand loyalty and ultimately profit.

Final Words

In a highly competitive industry, brands need to embed themselves into their consumers’ lives to set themselves apart. Digital recruiters know there’s no better social platform to do that on than Instagram. This channel is a creative and compelling way to reach your target audience and create engaging interactions like no other platform can. Whether you’re a global brand or small business, focusing on these trends will increase your following on one of the biggest social platforms in 2018 and beyond.

While following these trends is key to ensuring that your brand sees success on Instagram, it substantially depends on your leadership as a CMO and the team you have to support your social media marketing strategy. Without the right support, your efforts on any platform are essentially pointless.

To learn more about Instagram marketing, download our on-demand webinar.

 

This article originally appeared in MarketPro, it was written by Bob Van Rossum from Business2Community, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Traditional and Social Media – Do They Have To Be Measured Differently? [VIDEO]

Today, high-quality digital content and online engagement is essential to the development of any modern business. While the PR industry adopted social media earlier than most, how we measure our efforts to demonstrate ROI and other outcomes is still an evolving discipline.

We often think social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn need to be measured differently because they’re new and unfamiliar. However, social media can and should be measured alongside traditional media to paint a holistic picture of our audience. It also provides us with another layer of depth, measuring important details like when, where and why our audience is engaging with our brand, business or client.

Why does it concern us?

We often worry about social media measurement because it’s not something we’re very familiar with. Unlike traditional media – which has been around since the advent of public relations – social media has only been used by PR professionals for about 5 years. Also, it’s rapidly shifting structure makes it difficult to maintain a reliable measurement framework that works every time. However, measuring social media actually makes us better at our job. Not only can we substantiate PR driven results; we can implement our findings into new or existing campaigns (via print or digital) to produce greater results for our clients, increasing sales and brand awareness – often in real time.

There are some great reasons you should be measuring your PR efforts on social media:

  1. Online measurement tools quantify more than readership numbers and potential exposure

To measure traditional media, readership and engagement is generally estimated from pre-existing data. For example, the potential exposure of an advertorial is largely based on readership and circulation figures produced (often without sound data) by a news outlet. While it’s great to gauge a sense of how many people are reading your content, you’re not able to pin point who your audience is, what content they prefer to read or where to target them in order to get the best return.

Social media measurement, on the other hand, can quantify impressions, comments, reach and likes as well as media exposure much more accurately – leading to more informed insights and better results.

 2. It paints an accurate picture of your audience

Assessing social media is more than measurement and data collection; it’s about analysing data to learn more about your audience. The number of follows and likes aren’t as impressive if you can’t translate them into results – especially profits.

Demographics like age, gender and location will lay the groundwork, but knowing when your audience is active online, what content they like, if they share it or talk about it with others is much more valuable to your bottom line.

Also, access to this data means you can measure sentiment – the ratio of positive mentions to negative ones – telling you how our content, client or brand is being received online and what type of content your audience favours the most.

 3. You can join the conversation

Modern PR is a two-way conversation between an organization and its stakeholders. This means you’re an active participant in the conversation and can steer it to be in your favour. However, it also means consumers expect more from you (or your client), including timely responses to questions, concerns and reviews.

What does this mean for traditional media?

While traditional media may be difficult to measure accurately, it’s still important to quantify your PR efforts on both platforms. Your online audience is also your ‘real-life’ audience, so the data and insights you gain from social media measurement will apply to both media platforms.

At Meltwater, we’ve been really successful incorporating our social media and traditional media measurements into a single framework. For example, our daily newsletter not only highlights relevant articles, it tells us who it is that’s reading them, as well as the sentiment associated with the public’s response to those articles – who’s sharing the content or engaging in the conversation. And that’s a measure that offers real, valuable insights into your audience.

About the author:

As the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, Mimrah Mahmood help organisations across the Asia-Pacific break down media data (social, print and other media) and make business decisions from insights; create a framework to progressively and scientifically track efforts in PR and marketing; build a road-map to improve your communication plan; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is proud to be advocating better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications for many of the largest MNCs in Asia-Pacific.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!

What is the “missing link” between PR professionals and the C-suite? Part 2 [VIDEO]

Senior executives are primarily focused on their business and its operational standards, which means they want to know how PR can increase the performance and productivity of their company and build on the relationship they have with their customers.

If PR professionals want to make an impact, they need to provide the C-suite with insights that are relevant, timely and applicable, helping them look forward to the things that may affect the business in the future as much – or even more – than measuring results or coverage that has already been gained. And this means you need to build a robust measurement framework that resonates with the leaders of a business.

One of the best ways to do that is to provide more precise, demonstrable results, both in terms of the performance of your campaigns and how the business is tracking against competitors. To build a C-suite ready framework:

1. Make sure your measurements take into account the long-term objectives of the business. Consider their financial goals, current consumer trends and how you can use your data to achieve additional measures, like corporate social responsibility.

2. Ensure data integrity is maintained to establish trust. Your research, data and self-evaluation must be able to stand on its own, without a detailed explanation. It’s useful to have a methodological way of segmenting and qualifying your data to make it easier and faster to comprehend.

3. Make sure your measurements are scalable so they hold up as the company grows. The C-suite are always planning ahead, and will expect the same from you. There is always another ladder to climb, so consider how your data demonstrates your progress and how you can use it to highlight future opportunities.

When it is your turn to present at the top table, you want to make the most of the opportunity. So, ensure you have insightful, clearly defined and measurable information to close the missing link between you and the C-Suite.

About the Author:

As the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, Mimrah Mahmood help organisations across the Asia-Pacific break down media data (social, print and other media) and make business decisions from insights; create a framework to progressively and scientifically track efforts in PR and marketing; build a road-map to improve your communication plan; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is proud to be advocating better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications for many of the largest MNCs in Asia-Pacific.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver similar brand insights for your company? Click below!

How to Design a New Brand Identity for Your Business

Are you finding it hard to develop a brand identity? Or have you been falsely under the assumption that you fully understand the identity of your brand, even though it isn’t really clear to the general public?

Developing a brand identity is essential to the success of your business.

The Internet has more than 2.5 million active users on social media and more than 3 billion people access the web from their desktop computers, smart phones, tablets, and other devices.

Many of these people may be looking for your products and services, but they’ll never know your name unless you create a strong, trustworthy brand that customers can identify with.

Here is a simple three-step process to help you design a new brand identity.

1. Undergo a Brand Audit

Before you can begin redeveloping your brand, it’s time to step back, look closely at your current brand identity, and see how your current clients view your business. While you’re at it, to truly achieve success during the brand identity development stages, it’s also incredibly important to discover your ideal customer.

What drives the growth of your company? Is it a particular product or service? Why do customers buy this product or service? How do they view your company?

By taking time to answer these questions, you’ll be able to discover your ideal customer by determining what they find appealing about your business and the products and services you have to offer them.

Once you have determined this valuable information, you’ll be able to use it to craft a marketing message that your ideal target audience will respond to very positively.

We’re not done yet, though, because, now, you have to spend time performing competition analysis. Thoroughly review your competitors’ websites, check out their advertising, look at the brand identity they’ve created, see how they fare with search engine optimization, and anything else you can think of.

By thoroughly analyzing the competition, you’ll be able to determine who you are competing against for valuable market share. This will help you differentiate yourself from the crowd and it will even help you determine the best strategies to employ to compete in your market.

If you’re wondering, “What should I choose as the PMS color for my logo?” Looking over your competitors’ color schemes can also provide valuable insight into this important decision as well.

So take time to conduct an audit of your own brand and the competition, and then use the valuable information you learn to develop your own corporate identity.

2. Develop Your Message and Unique Value Proposition

In this next step, you’ll find it nearly impossible to achieve success rebranding your company if you fail to identify your core philosophies.

By core philosophies, we mean understanding your company’s values, which you’ll use to create a mission statement for your customers to understand and for your team to live by.

But that’s not all because you also have to figure out your brand value proposition and know what you have to offer your customers.

Once you’ve determined your core philosophy, mission statement, and unique value proposition, you’ll then be able to create a foundation that will allow you to build a brand representative of your company mission and what you’d like to present to the world.

As an example, let’s say you own an HVAC company in Miami, Florida. Your core philosophy could be that you never want your customers to go without air-conditioning for more than six hours. So, you’d have to work hard every day to make sure you repair your customers’ broken ACs quickly and efficiently.

In turn, your company’s unique value proposition could be 24/7/365 emergency air-conditioning services no matter if it’s early in the morning or the middle of the night.

You’ll set yourself apart from the rest of the competition by showing up to your customers’ homes when other HVAC companies are sleeping or eating dinner with their family or doing any number of other things besides repairing air-conditioners.

Your mission statement could be as follows:

At XYZ Miami HVAC Services, we vow to repair our customers’ air-conditioners no later than six hours after being notified of a problem. If it turns out our customer needs an entirely new air-conditioning system, we will provide a temporary AC unit until we install their new system. We promise to live up to our mission each and every day and will do our best to make sure our customers are always comfortable at home or work and they always have some form of air-conditioning keeping them cool day and night.

With a strong brand identity and a message such as this, your company will definitely stand out amongst other HVAC service providers and customers will begin flocking to you in droves. It’s inevitable as long as you live up to your mission and stick to your message.

3. Refine Your Brand Identity

Now that you’ve discovered your value to potential customers, you should occasionally analyze your brand identity and make tweaks accordingly if it will help create a stronger business model.

You have to do whatever it takes to remain competitive in your market, so remember to check in from time to time and look at your unique value proposition.

Is it still unique? Or have many of your competitors adopted the same attitude? Is the competition now providing the same level of service?

If your current brand identity isn’t as unique as it once was, it’s time to make some changes. Refine the promises you make to your customers and do something new to stand out and attract their attention.

Your brand identity is much more than just a mission statement; it reflects your values, character, and the way you think, too.

As you can see, designing a new brand identity is crucial to the success of your business. Take this process seriously and follow the steps we’ve shared with you today. Once you’re through, you’ll have no trouble standing out in your market and you’ll be able to deliver unique value to your customers that they will truly appreciate.

When you’re delving deeper into your value proposition consider analyzing the data around your brand to help tell your story and where it is going. Downloading our free ebook, Make Powerful Impressions with Statistics, can help.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 3.11.13 PM.png

This article originally appeared in Bookmark, it was written by Aleah Taboclaon from Business2Community, and legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

When Brands Chat on Social Media

Social media is traditionally thought of as a brand-to-customer or customer-to-brand marketing channel.

But what happens when brands chat on social media? The past year has shown us how fun, engaging, and sometimes controversial it can be when brands start to converse on social media – pushing the boundaries of brand marketing with each post.

Here’s a look at some of the best and most controversial examples of brand-to-brand communication on Twitter.

Brand-to-Brand Communication For Good

MoonPie and Wendy’s

MoonPie and Wendy’s are two of the most talked about accounts on Twitter today. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, their social team has proven that you don’t need to be Nike or NatGeo to go viral.

One thing MoonPie and Wendy’s are doing particularly well is interacting with other brands on Twitter in order to spark conversation and engagement between two audiences.

In a recent AMA on Reddit hosted by Wendy’s, one user asked what their favorite Twitter account is (besides their own). Wendy’s responded:

Which then prompted this response from MoonPie:

This simple Tweet received more than 250 Retweets, 6,200 Likes, and 47 responses. One user even mentioned that they began to follow the MoonPie account because of the shoutout from Wendy’s.

In this case, both brands showed just how fun and engaging brand-to-brand communication can be. This helped to humanize both MoonPie and Wendy’s through authentic conversation.

London’s Natural History Museum and Science Museum

When Bednarz O’Connell asked this seemingly innocent question, he sparked one of the greatest Twitter wars to ever go down.

The Natural History Museum replied:

Feeling like they weren’t going to be defeated, the Science Museum came back with:

This continued for dozens of tweets and several days. Each brand showcasing why their exhibits are the best in London.

 

Many marketers would argue that getting into a Twitter war with one of your competitors is a bad thing. We beg to differ. In this case, the press and publicity generated was a win for both brands. Each kept the conversation PG and in good fun proving that brand-to-brand conversation doesn’t have to be negative.

Brand-to-Brand Communication For Worse

Wendy’s and McDonald’s

Speaking of negative brand-to-brand communication, Wendy’s was back at it again with this tweet calling out their biggest competitor McDonald’s on a mistimed post:

Wasting no time, Wendy’s tweeted:

Ouch.

Wendy’s has earned the reputation as the “sassy” brand on social media and this post showed just how snarky they can be.

McDonald’s attempted to respond, but by then it was already too late:

The damage was done. The Wendy’s tweet engagement climbed up into the hundreds of thousands and the best McDonalds could do was watch it all happen.

SF Bart and LA Metro

SF Bart, like so many other brands these days, has grown their social accounts through quirky and brash tweets. This time, they challenged the LA Metro team to a Haiku battle:

They came out firing:

At first, LA Metro didn’t respond, but they finally decided to get in on the action by calling out the Golden State Warriors:

A sensitive subject for lots of people in the Bay Area.

SF Bart wasn’t going to let that go:

And the conversation went on and on with each brand (seemingly) throwing shade with every tweet.

This example of brand-to-brand conversation seemingly teeters on the “for worse” side, but both sides came into the “battle” with a nod towards fun. And the entire twitter exchange showed a mutual understanding and appreciation of their respective hometowns. Exchanges like these, with old-fashioned ribbing, can be a social media win for audiences and the brands involved.

Your Move As A Brand

Brand monitoring tools give marketers a plethora of resources to be able to join and start brand-to-brand conversations like we saw in the examples above.

Chatting with other brands on social media is a great way to spark engagement between two very different audiences – often those of competitors.

The key is to make sure that each message is on-brand and carefully crafted. As with other types of social media posts, the ultimate goal of brand-to-brand communication is growing a loyal and engaged audience.

What is the “missing link” between PR professionals and the C-suite? Part 1 – Daily Challenges [VIDEO]

Every PR professional will face this question regularly throughout their career – and for many it’s a daily consideration: How do I get the attention of senior executives when they have so many competing demands?

Whether you are working within a business or for an agency, getting the C-Suite behind your campaigns can be the difference between getting the resources you need to run a successful programme and never getting an idea off the plans.

But as in every other part of your PR practice, bridging the gap to the C-Suite involves understanding the needs of your audience, and planning to deliver your message accordingly. And from a PR perspective, the C-suite will want to hear about three key things more than any other: trends, opportunities and threats.

Trends, opportunities and threats are important to senior executives because they can have an immediate impact on the performance of the business (and their own daily schedule).

Using the latest monitoring tools, PR professionals have access to valuable insights that can not only highlight risks but also identify valuable areas of potential growth and development. Consider the following: is there a potential competitor who will disrupt the market? Has the government announced a new policy that will affect business operations? Or, is there an industry or social trend that presents an opportunity to drive more sales?

Monitoring and analysing the market is a daily discipline for PR professionals, with analysis of trends and consumer behaviours that can now be gained in real-time. Providing the C-suite with a daily digest of meaningful and valuable insights can help ensure they see PR as a practical tool to help them chart a course for the organisation.

However, senior executives are busy people, so cut straight to the facts and avoid using PR jargon.

While it’s important to measure PR activity, the C-suite are more interested in the outcomes. This means they want to know how your PR efforts have gained them customers, increased their sales or boosted employee productivity – which can’t be measured in Facebook follows or total number of articles published.

Instead, measure your activity using business metrics. Target your reporting to tangible results: how many consumers shared the content, bought their product and proceeded to tell another consumer about it? Other measurement tools include, surveys, landing pages, online vouchers or sales codes on social media. These will provide the C-suite with real evidence that PR provides a return on their investment.

About the Author:

As the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, Mimrah Mahmood help organisations across the Asia-Pacific break down media data (social, print and other media) and make business decisions from insights; create a framework to progressively and scientifically track efforts in PR and marketing; build a road-map to improve your communication plan; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is proud to be advocating better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications for many of the largest MNCs in Asia-Pacific.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!

 

Alternative facts: Who’s really to blame?

2016 was the year of ‘fake news’. Macquarie Dictionary even named it the word of the year for 2016 which is not surprising given the increasing squabbles Donald Trump had with the US media in the lead up to the election.

 

Media coverage and exposure of Trump and fake news over 6 months (28 August 2016 – 28 Februrary 2017)

While it’s by no means over, it makes you wonder why there’s such a clear division when it comes to issues like politics and science, across both social media and the news. And more importantly, where are people getting their facts from if the media are indeed publishing fake news?

To understand this divide however, it’s important to take a step back from Trump and look at who’s driving the news that we consume. Trump’s Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, was quoted across global media outlets back in January about press secretary Sean Spicer giving ‘alternative facts’ which most people interpreted as only using facts that help support his arguments.

This led to multiple debates across the world about the rise of alternative facts in politics — especially as its original phrase ‘newspeak’ was coined in George Orwell’s 1984, a book about a dystopian future with a tyrannical government.

Heat map of the countries that wrote about ‘alternative facts’ and the number of stories published in the week following Kellyanne Conway’s quote (22 January – 29 January 2017)

However, the whole concept of alternative facts is more prevalent than you may think. Climate change is a good example — a debate that’s been ongoing for over a decade, and still exists today. Skeptics of the melting ice caps and increase in world temperatures often look for ‘research’ and ‘data’ that supports their own argument, often ignoring experts and scientific evidence that tell them otherwise.

While the use of the phrase ‘alternative facts’ arose recently, it’s something that all individuals have been partaking in more and more, often unintentionally, with the rise of the Internet.

Social media platforms like Facebook and search engines like Google have allowed us to choose and unconsciously be bias with the news that is delivered to us for consumption, filtering information through the use of bots and algorithms that ultimately support and propagate a certain viewpoint. The friends and pages we follow align with our own views, and it’s as simple as unfriending or unliking a page if we disagree with what they post. Searches on Google can also be filtered in a way that only brings up certain results.

“Like this page — here’s a few similar ones that you may also like.”

Donald Trump is not the tyrant here when it comes to the rise of fake news and alternative facts, he’s just become the figurehead in an age where information — regardless of whether it’s fake or factual — is filtered by bots that base their selections on what you’ve previously liked, shared, viewed or searched.

If you take a look at your Facebook feed or recent likes, what do you see? A balanced selection of objective journalism, or article after article that supports your own viewpoints?

Facebook and Google have the power to change the way we consume news to ensure that the stories we see are unfiltered and unbiased. Both platforms have started to recognise the need for more proactive filtering, following the backlash about their complacency during the US election last year.

While Facebook is making an attempt to better filter fake news with the introduction of their Journalism Project, the program doesn’t actually list the need to address the role of bots as one of its priorities. Perhaps objective journalism just does not result in the number of clicks and engagement required to appease the businesses and brands that are paying for the eyeballs.

Digital has had a huge impact on traditional news mediums, and now social is disrupting the former two. While it’s not possible to read the billions of conversations happening across social media and what is being published online, there are platforms and steps that any individual, business or brand can take to ensure they don’t fall completely down the rabbit hole, allowing them to always make a more informed decision.

Objective journalism may be harder and harder to find, so you must be smarter about the content you consume.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!

Alternative facts: Who’s really to blame?

2016 was the year of ‘fake news’. Macquarie Dictionary even named it the word of the year for 2016 which is not surprising given the increasing squabbles Donald Trump had with the US media in the lead up to the election.

 

Media coverage and exposure of Trump and fake news over 6 months (28 August 2016 – 28 Februrary 2017)

While it’s by no means over, it makes you wonder why there’s such a clear division when it comes to issues like politics and science, across both social media and the news. And more importantly, where are people getting their facts from if the media are indeed publishing fake news?

To understand this divide however, it’s important to take a step back from Trump and look at who’s driving the news that we consume. Trump’s Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, was quoted across global media outlets back in January about press secretary Sean Spicer giving ‘alternative facts’ which most people interpreted as only using facts that help support his arguments.

This led to multiple debates across the world about the rise of alternative facts in politics — especially as its original phrase ‘newspeak’ was coined in George Orwell’s 1984, a book about a dystopian future with a tyrannical government.

Heat map of the countries that wrote about ‘alternative facts’ and the number of stories published in the week following Kellyanne Conway’s quote (22 January – 29 January 2017)

However, the whole concept of alternative facts is more prevalent than you may think. Climate change is a good example — a debate that’s been ongoing for over a decade, and still exists today. Skeptics of the melting ice caps and increase in world temperatures often look for ‘research’ and ‘data’ that supports their own argument, often ignoring experts and scientific evidence that tell them otherwise.

While the use of the phrase ‘alternative facts’ arose recently, it’s something that all individuals have been partaking in more and more, often unintentionally, with the rise of the Internet.

Social media platforms like Facebook and search engines like Google have allowed us to choose and unconsciously be bias with the news that is delivered to us for consumption, filtering information through the use of bots and algorithms that ultimately support and propagate a certain viewpoint. The friends and pages we follow align with our own views, and it’s as simple as unfriending or unliking a page if we disagree with what they post. Searches on Google can also be filtered in a way that only brings up certain results.

“Like this page — here’s a few similar ones that you may also like.”

Donald Trump is not the tyrant here when it comes to the rise of fake news and alternative facts, he’s just become the figurehead in an age where information — regardless of whether it’s fake or factual — is filtered by bots that base their selections on what you’ve previously liked, shared, viewed or searched.

If you take a look at your Facebook feed or recent likes, what do you see? A balanced selection of objective journalism, or article after article that supports your own viewpoints?

Facebook and Google have the power to change the way we consume news to ensure that the stories we see are unfiltered and unbiased. Both platforms have started to recognise the need for more proactive filtering, following the backlash about their complacency during the US election last year.

While Facebook is making an attempt to better filter fake news with the introduction of their Journalism Project, the program doesn’t actually list the need to address the role of bots as one of its priorities. Perhaps objective journalism just does not result in the number of clicks and engagement required to appease the businesses and brands that are paying for the eyeballs.

Digital has had a huge impact on traditional news mediums, and now social is disrupting the former two. While it’s not possible to read the billions of conversations happening across social media and what is being published online, there are platforms and steps that any individual, business or brand can take to ensure they don’t fall completely down the rabbit hole, allowing them to always make a more informed decision.

Objective journalism may be harder and harder to find, so you must be smarter about the content you consume.

Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!

The Death of the Focus Group

The traditional focus group is dead. What had once provided brands and businesses with a sample view of how the general public thinks, has now diminished to numbers and words on a page.

Take the Arnott’s pizza shapes fiasco of 2016 as a key example. According to Arnott’s Marketing Director, Rowena Ditzell, a focus group of around 11,000 people voted to get rid of the old, and bring in a new recipe and flavour. A group of people, each with unique taste buds that was representing the whole of Australia, helped overhaul a much beloved flavour that the majority of Australian consumers did not want to change in the first place. We all know how that played out — following huge customer backlash across social media, Arnott’s brought back the original flavours due to “popular demand”.

This “popular demand” was not a key focus during the focus group tests, and highlights the importance for businesses and brands like Arnott’s to look beyond their own four walls and the traditional focus group, before making a huge strategic business change. There is a wealth of real-time online data and conversations that are available every day, and businesses and brands alike must pay attention to the role it plays in strategic decision making, or risk falling behind their competitors.

The importance of real-time online data

With Sensis’ 2017 Social Media Report revealing that Australian businesses are planning to spend less on social media over the next 12 months due to a lack of available time, this highlights a glaring gap in any business strategy in today’s day and age. Not only does social media provide real-time insights into consumer behaviour, it’s also become the front-line of defence to resolve customer feedback or issues before it becomes a problem.

Social media has become the go-to platform for the everyday Australian to express their thoughts — and this extends to brands and businesses too. We’re even beginning to see its reach and influence extend to politics. Traditional polls and focus groups may provide an indication of what a select group of Australians think, but this does not represent the majority. One year ago, the Liberal Party thought they were a shoo-in with Malcolm Turnbull at the reins — after all, the polls said so.

Social conversations told a completely different story — Turnbull and Shorten were closer than the polls showed, and social media networks showed how the 2016 election would pan out, and specifically the issues that drove this result.

Publishers don’t pull all the strings anymore

While the ACCC is reviewing Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordan’s plan to launch a takeover bid for Network Ten, some worry that if approved, this will give the Murdoch conglomerate an even bigger influence over Australian media.

What most businesses and brands have yet to understand, is that tradition