Nasa’s social media deputy talks IGTV, VR and govt control

Social Media, NASA, Technology
Image Credit: Nasa’s social media deputy talks IGTV, VR and govt control


From Facebook setbacks to Snapchat triumphs, what’s a marketer to do when it comes to navigating the rapidly changing world of social media? As the deadline for The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2018 approaches, we spoke to judge and NASA’s deputy social media manager, Jason Townsend on Twitter about some of the latest trends hitting the social media scene.

He explains how impactful IGTV is to mobile devices, why social needs to be more integrated in the media mix, why shares are like gold dust and why Nasa can’t just jump on any social platform bandwagon.

You must see lots of new platforms come and go, how do new platforms – like #IGTV for example– change the social landscape?

IGTV recognizes the importance of mobile devices in the social media landscape. So many platforms support vertical video, but few have made it the showcase product the way IGTV has. Will others follow? Time will tell.

Has social media finally moved away from being a ‘nice to have’ option and become an integral part of the marketing mix?

Social has to be integrated. Fans of your brand are already talking about you, even if you aren’t on social. It’s much healthier to be a voice in the conversation, assisting fans & putting your messages out than to not be. Use social to drive the conversation where you want to go.

Data is a huge talking point with all marketing. In your opinion, how do you successfully incorporate data into a social media campaign?

Shares are highly valued. Think about it: a share says someone liked your post enough to put it into their timeline w/ stamp of approval. Most-shared posts show trends over time. Glean lessons & apply on an ongoing, continuous basis.

Low performing content usually has common issues, too. Ensure you analyze user comments/replies since followers are usually vocal when it doesn’t work. Break it down. Do Gifs get more RTs? Do video posts get more link clicks? Incorporate data to make smarter content.

Looking ahead, what do you predict will be the ‘next big thing’ in social and why?

Expect to see more experiential media-rich content on social. With more AR & VR tech getting into the hands of audiences, we’ll see more content produced that takes advantage of this, allowing people to be embedded in to experience content in very new ways that are immersive.

When new platforms emerge, do you think it’s best to jump right in or hold back and let others test the waters?

Legally, NASA can’t sign most term of services to jump right in. So when we begin a legal negotiation to create a government law friendly agreement with a company it is after a carefully measured review that a new tool has an audience we want to reach or features we think are a fit.

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Fruit of the Loom Turned the Bizarre Stuff Kids Say Into Beautifully Stitched Pillows

Social Media, Marketing, Children, Fruit of the Loom
Image source: Fruit of the Loom
By  | Adweek

Fruit of the Loom’s two-track back-to-school effort is turning parents’ social media oversharing into home décor.

Created by CP+B, “Pillows for Posterity” takes those amusing, quirky, hard-to-believe-my-kid-said-that sayings and transforms them into hand-stitched pillows. When mom is missing Lily when she’s back in school, a quick gaze at a pillow that reads “You ruined my life” will curb the separation pangs.

Using the #thingsmykidssay tag, parents can share their kids’ most memorable saying with family, friends and now, the world. A Facebook video encourages parents to share musings in the comments section by Aug. 29. Artisans will stitch winning quotes—some of which could already be contenders—into classy house pillows.

The second part of the back-to-school campaign, “Tales from Teacher,” turns actual teachers’ notes sent home with kids into three adorable animations including a squiggly worm friend that may have found its way into a girl’s pocket, an errant nacho to the eye and a warning about strawberry-flavored lip balm that was eaten.


‘Stories’ was Instagram’s smartest move yet

Social Media, Instagram, Social Marketing
Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty


Two years ago, Instagram did something that felt a little desperate: It copied the best product from a direct competitor, and even gave it the same name. Snapchat Stories were suddenly Instagram Stories.

It was a bold move. Silicon Valley is full of copycats, and Facebook, which owns Instagram, is one of the most shameless. But this felt particularly blatant.

Copying Snapchat wasn’t just about kneecapping Snapchat, still seen by many as Facebook’s greatest threat — and one that had rejected its overtures, even with billions of dollars attached to them.

It was also public acknowledgment that Instagram had a problem: The glamorous photos and videos that the app had become known for were now too glamourous. The bar for what was “Instagram-worthy” was so high that its users were starting to get intimidated. People don’t climb mountains, eat at fancy restaurants or take beautiful beach vacation photos every day. That meant people weren’t posting to Instagram every day, either.

“The biggest problem [people had] with Instagram is feeling the pressure of sharing really amazing photos,” CEO Kevin Systrom told Recode last summer. “People want to actually share a lot more, but they don’t want it to hang on the gallery wall.”

Stories, which disappear after 24 hours and are easily shot and decorated right in the Instagram app, represented a low-pressure alternative to Instagram’s high-pressure photo feed.

Two years later, it’s clear that launching Stories was the best decision Instagram ever made — and more broadly, one of the best things to come out of Facebook.

Stories didn’t save Instagram — it didn’t need saving — but there’s no doubt it super-charged it. Instagram Stories has attracted more than 400 million daily users and changed the way people share and consume things online.

And it seems to have taken real momentum away from Snapchat, which saw its user growth rate slow soon after Instagram Stories launched. Yesterday, Snap announced it lost three million users last quarter — its first decline ever.

There isn’t just one reason why Instagram Stories worked. There are a lot of them.

Perhaps the most important is that Stories alleviated some of the pressure that users felt when posting to their Instagram account.

Stories are supposed to be spontaneous, realistic and fun — a simple slice of real life, or a daily video journal. Most Stories content is shot casually and quickly through the Instagram app’s camera. And because viewers control…Continue reading

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Want viral content? Follow these steps

Social Media, Content, Content Marketing
Image credit: Pixabay

By Scott Bay

Viral content is a dream goal for all marketers. When your content explodes, your business gains visitors and leads in very little time. However, there are many misconceptions about what it takes to get your content to go viral. Why? Because viral posts are outliers—they aren’t the norm. Most content typically receives a small amount of views and a few shares, but then dwindles. However, successful content doesn’t depend on virality. Utilizing professional methods and specific strategies can generate more interest in your content and drive more traffic to your site. By using strong social media tactics, you’ll definitely increase the chances of  your content going viral.

Find a unique angle

Providing your readers with new information increases the chance of your material going viral. Prior to posting your content, it’s crucial to complete a thorough content audit of both your site and your competitors. A content audit ensures that you avoid reposting content similar to that of your competitors. Additionally, youwill also have a better understanding of what keywords will increase your ranking on Google.

It’s also critical to create an engaging voice. Carefully analyze your audience and determine how to best communicate with them. Take Coca-Cola for example. Despite being around for an entire century, the brand has always spoken to its audience in a way that evokes happiness. Whether it’s the joy of family, friends or a holiday, Coke has been fantastic at creating the same thirst-quenching emotions in its audience.

Include visual cues

Studies have shown that content that includes images receives 94% more views than those without. The reason is simple. Visual content is more effective than text. Many users who click on an article, and see a long body of text, do not bother reading the information. They either do not have the time to read through a lengthy article or don’t care to read it.

Splitting up a large body of text with images creates more engaging content. Many studies show that the human brain processes images much faster than text. This information tells us that readers get the information they need much faster when it’s visual. Additionally, individuals are 65% more likely to retain information through images than through text.

The bottom line: your content becomes more compelling and interesting to readers when it is strategically interspersed with images.

Create relatable content

Creating content that resonates with your readers is a difficult, yet critical task to master. Engaging, relatable content is more likely to be socially shared, forwarded and linked to from other sites. Individuals who relate to the information you’re providing are more likely to continue reading until the end. Moreover, relatable content is what sparks conversations and elevates your marketing.

Buzzfeed is one company that excels at this tactic. According to Quantcast, the company succeeds in catching the imagination and attention of their audience through engaging, entertaining and unpredictable content that resonates deeply with their readers. Discussing common, relatable issues with their readers increases the chances of users resonating with the content and sharing it.

Tell a story

One of the most effective ways to communicate a point is through stories. They capture your audience’s attention for a short journey. When content can take a reader/viewer from point A to point B, then you have a robust content marketing tool.

Without a compelling, interesting story, your content is just another piece of content. Additionally, stories have the ability to create an emotional response within your readers. Once this happens, your audience is more likely to take action and/or share the content.

Add the right amount of humor

Humor is infectious. When individuals read or see something funny, they’re inspired to share it with others. In fact, a recent survey showed that 43% of participants said that sharing funny content was important to them. Why? Because when people read or watch something funny, they share it others who might find the content hilarious. Humor creates and strengthens relationships with people.

Using humor in your content can also…Continue Reading

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Facebook will launch news video initiative next week

Facebook, Social Media, TV, Video, Broadcasting
Image Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

By  | Axios

Facebook will launch a slate of video shows on its video platform, Watch, on July 16.

Why it matters: The tech giant has been under immense pressure since the 2016 election to clean up the quality of news and information on its platform.

The details: The first slate of shows that will debut next week come from a mix of local, national and social publishers, including ATTN:, CNN, Fox News, Mic, Quartz, Bloomberg, and Univision.

  • By the end of the summer, the company says that it will have roughly 20 different news partners as a part of its news push.
  • The shows will exist in a dedicated news section on Facebook’s Watch tab. Like other sections on Watch, it will be personalized based on the publishers that a user follows and what their friends are watching.
  • Facebook hopes to mimic this experience for other non-news video partners, like gaming.

Axios first reported about the initiative in March, and the anticipation among publishers to see what it looks like has been building since.

Between the lines: Facebook has faced a rocky relationship with media publishers that have for years argued that the social giant has made billions of dollars in ad revenue off of their content without giving publishers their fair share of the cut or data insights about their audience.

  • Facebook has continued the work of its news partnerships team, which includes everything from pumping money into local news accelerator programs to giving media companies resources like traffic analysis tools.
  • Still, thousands of publishers around the world, mostly through their trade groups, have expressed discontent with how Facebook works with news publishers.
  • Facebook is hoping these partnerships, in which it is paying publishers to participate, will help ease at least some of their news partners’ concerns.

Facebook will be financing the news shows that air on its Watch platform. Sources say the company is in some cases paying up to $1 million for one year’s worth of production.

  • Eventually, Facebook says, it hopes to create an advertising platform so that these shows can be self-sustained on the platform.

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Twitter now removing 214% more spammy accounts YoY as it ramps up efforts against bad actors

Twitter, Influencer Fraud, Spam
Image source: Marketing Land

By  | Marketing Land Contributor

Earlier this year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, along with three other executives who head up the company’s product and security teams, hosted a 45-minute live Q&A with users. During the livestream, Dorsey said Twitter’s primary goal was improving the health of the platform. According to Twitter’s latest transparency numbers, the work they’ve put toward security measures and reducing the amount of content from bad actors is paying off.

Twitter says that on a year-to-year basis, it is currently removing 214 percent more accounts for violating spam policies. In May, it identified more than 9.9 million potentially spammy and automated accounts per week — up from the 6.4 million it was finding every week in December of 2017. There has also been a drop in spam reports this year.

On Twitter’s company blog, Yoel Roth, head of Twitter’s platform policy team, and Del Harvey, Twitter’s VP of trust and safety, write, “The average number of spam reports we received through our reporting flow continued to drop — from an average of approximately 25,000 per day in March, to approximately 17,000 per day in May.”

Not only is Twitter fighting against spam accounts, the company says it has suspended more than 142,000 apps that violated Twitter rules during Q1 of this year — with more than half suspended within one week of registration and many within hours.

“We’ve maintained this pace of proactive action, removing an average of more than 49,000 malicious applications per month in April and May. We are increasingly using automated and proactive detection methods to find misuses of our platform before they impact anyone’s experience,” say Roth and Harvey.

Smyte acquisition

According to Twitter, it is using automated processes and machine learning tools to identify and remove malicious and spammy content. Last week, Twitter announced it was acquiring Smyte, a technology firm that specialized in safety, spam and security issues.

“Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe,” said Twitter’s safety team in a blog post announcing the acquisition. The transition to Twitter’s team did not go as seamlessly as Smyte had hoped, though. The same day the acquisition was announced, TechCrunch reported that Twitter immediately shut down access to Smyte’s platform — leaving Smyte’s existing customer base without access to the API. (According to TechCrunch, Twitter declined to comment on the situation but was making phone calls to Smyte customers to help rectify the problem.)

I asked a few digital ad agencies if they believe Twitter’s Smyte acquisition was in any way connected to a drop in ad dollars on the platform resulting from the platform’s spam problems. Aaron Goldman, the CMO for 4C, which is a Twitter certified partner, says his company is only seeing growth in Twitter ad budgets. According to 4C’s quarterly State of Media report, Q4 2017 and Q1 2018 both showed year-over-year increases in ad spend on the platform. (In Q4 2017, year-over-year ad spend on Twitter grew 60 percent, per 4C’s numbers.)

Akvile DeFazio, founder and president of Akvertise, a social media marketing agency, said she has shifted budgets away from Twitter in recent months, but only because of a lack of targeting options and not because of an influx of spam or bot activity on the app.

New safety measures

In addition to buying new technology designed to fight spam and improve security measures, Twitter also announced new security and safety initiatives to tackle manipulation on the platform. One includes reducing account metrics related to bad actors in real time. This means that if Twitter identifies an account as spammy or malicious, any follows, likes or retweets performed by the identified account will not be reflected in account metrics.

“If we put an account into a read-only state (where the account can’t engage with others or tweet) because our systems have detected it behaving suspiciously, we now remove…Continue reading


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Google is relaunching its news site with lots more artificial intelligence as part of its effort to fight fake news

Google, Business, News
Image credit: Google/Business Insider

By  |Business Insider

In the furor over fake news and the dominance of the tech giants over the digital advertising industry, Google has seen far less scrutiny than Facebook.

The search giant on Tuesday announced steps that seem designed to make sure things stay that way.

Google is revamping its Google News service to make it easier for users to find stories from credible news sources and to subscribe to those publications. Using artificial intelligence, the updated service will automatically highlight stories it thinks users will be interested in, but it will also make it easier for them to get in-depth information on particular topics.

“We are using AI to bring forward the best of what journalism has to offer,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai while unveiling the revised service at the company’s annual developer conference in Mountain View, California. “We want to give users quality sources that they trust.”

The new service, which Google plans to start rolling out Tuesday in 127 countries, will offer a customized news feed for each user based on what the company knows about their interests and where they live. At the top of the feed will be the five most relevant articles for each user.

“It works right out of the box,” said Trystan Upstill, Google’s head of News product and engineering. The system is designed to become better attuned to your interests over time, he said, adding, “The more you use it, the better it gets.”

The service will also offer users an…Continue reading

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