Archives For Social Media

New Instagram Stories Feature

This week, Instagram announced that users can now reply to stories with a photo or video. By tapping the camera button while viewing a story, a photo or video response can be created. Replies to stories will show up in user’s inboxes, and can include filters and stickers. Before this feature was introduced, the only way to respond to stories was with a message. This update can act as a tool for brands to connect and interact with individuals on a more personal level. Link


Snapchat Updates!

Snapchat introduced a few new features to their platform. Firstly, you can now attach links to your snaps! Users can now tap the paper clip button, add a website link, and send to their friends. Once a website link is received from a friend, swiping up will direct you to the intended link. Secondly, Snapchat has added new daily backdrops, voice filters, and on-demand geofilters for use at sporting events, music festivals, weddings, etc. By using the scissor icon, these new backdrops can be cut and customized, allowing for fun colors and designs to be inserted. Link


The Meme Economy

We found this to be an interesting take on Internet culture and who actually owns the rights to memes. This topic has been debated before, but has recently resurfaced with President Trump’s tweet of himself beating up a man with the CNN logo superimposed over the man’s face. It’s a reminder that while memes are highly shareable and accessible, there are legal considerations when using them. Link


Facebook’s Wi-Fi Locator

Earlier this week, Facebook revealed a new feature for finding nearby Wi-Fi hotspots. This is incredibly useful for users running low on data and don’t want it eaten up watching videos on a cellular connection. Companies need to opt-in to the feature to be listed, which will make this all the more useful in the coming months when the database has been built. Ultimately, this will drive people to businesses with Wi-Fi connectivity because Facebook knows how important staying connected at all times is to their users. Link


Greg Swan WCCO space150

We all have friends who have announced, unceremoniously and often emotionally, that they are taking a break from or quitting social media.

Especially in this post-election spin cycle, more people than ever before are considering taking a break from the always-on newsfeed.

Why is it hard to let go? 

For starters, it’s important to remember that modern social media is more than 10 years old. It’s no longer a nice-to-have distraction, and instead it’s often our 1) primary connection to others, primary source of news and entertainment, and 3) our opportunity to have our voice heard. And thanks to the anytime mobile web and our smart phones, we have 24/7 access.

But the truth is that we share less personal information on surface (public) social than ever before. Personal social sharing on Facebook is down 15% this year over last year, which means a lot of the content you’re seeing in social media isn’t about your friends. It’s more often comfort content click-bait or political-fueled news.Much like how we used to get our news primarily from late night shows or The Daily Show, now it’s more from social media headlines that inform our notion of what’s happening in the world. And of course, fake news sites have contributed to the burnout, especially if the people in your network aren’t thinking critically about what they’re sharing.

So what should we do about social media fatigue?

For starters, please don’t declare you’re taking time away from social media like you’re going to be missed. Just do it.

Greg Swan space150 WCCO tv

Here are three ideas:

  1. Turn off notifications on your phone — lesson the constant reminders and distractions
  2. Delete social networking apps on your phone — check via desktop only
  3. Take a digital detox. I personally take an unplugged week every single year. You should, too.

I was interviewed by our local CBS affiliate this week on the topic. Here’s the story…


Over the past few months, you may have heard friends declare, “I’m done with social media.”

Then they post again the following day.

So, why is it so hard to quit?

Our feelings about social media can span a range of emotions. Some may feel it is too political, too negative or too polarizing — while at the same time see how well it allows for connection and access to information.

“First, we have to think about the benefits of social media,” says Greg Swan, a vice president of public relations and brand Innovation at Minneapolis advertising agency space150. “Why do we want to be on social media?”

He points out three major benefits: connections with other people, a way to share your voice and a popular vehicle for getting the news.

We are sharing fewer cute kid photos every year. Personal social sharing is down 15 percent year over year, making way for more news and commentary online.

Sixty-two percent of people now say they get their news from social media.

“You think about why you can’t quit social media? That’s where you get your news in 2016,” Swan said.

Cornell researchers looked at some of the reasons people who quit Facebook were drawn back in. They studied surveys of people who chose to take in the “99 Days of Freedom” Facebook challenge by stepping away from the social media site. Not everyone could stay off Facebook the entire 99 days.

They found four major reasons for returning back to the site. First, people who think it is addictive are more likely to fall back into the habit.

Second, people who use Facebook to influence how other people think of them had a better chance of not completing the challenge.

Third, good moods kept people off the site for longer compared to bad moods.

And fourth, people were more likely to stay away if they still took part in other social media platforms.

Swan says the ubiquity of our smartphones also plays a role.

“There’s more technology in this phone than what sent the first person to space. It’s no wonder we can’t put it down,” Swan said. “That said, it doesn’t take a lot to set them down and walk away.”

He suggests taking a social media break if you think you need it by unfollowing people or groups you believe to be toxic, deleting the apps from your phone or stopping for a short period of time.

He locks his phone in a safe for one week every year.

Watch the segment here:
WCCO Why Is it So Hard to Quit Social Media?

Part of my role at Weber Shandwick is to explore new and emerging technologies, understand how they will impact consumer behavior, and put them into context for our clients.

Last November I installed Automatic on my car, which is a small white square that plugs into your car’s data port (you know, where your mechanic plugs in the check engine light machine that somehow costs $100 just for turning it on).

Automatic has helped liberate the data that I generate through my daily commute, including what time I leave and what time I arrive, how fast I’m driving, which route I’m taking, gas mileage, and if I have hard accelerations or rapid braking that decrease gas mileage. It also allows you to diagnose check engine light situations, which I see as a bonus.

greg swan automatic 2

Greg Automatic app

We all generate this data when we drive, but to-date it hasn’t been easy and accessible to get this data out of our vehicles.
And although next week Apple may announce ‘iOS in the Car’ installed in new models from Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, Automatic’s after market technology works in most vehicles newer than 1996.

I see the aftermarket smart auto products much like aftermarket smart TV products, like Roku and Apple TV. Sure, you can buy a “smart TV” with the functionality build into the hardware, but what about the millions of consumers who already own a perfectly good TV? So it goes with cars, too. Aftermarket capability is key for many new technologies to achieve mainstream adoption.

This week Automatic was added to IFTTT (short for “if this than that”), which is a brilliant tool for hooking disparate social media networks and services together with each other and The Internet of Things. For example, I’ve had a Craigslist formula culling FREE postings in my just neighborhood sent to my personal email for years now (and why we have a giant free organ in our house, much to my wife’s chagrin).

With the free IFTTT integration for Automatic, consumers can create “recipes” to automatically send emails and text messages or post to social networks when certain things happen in their vehicles.

So what can you do with this?
For utility’s sake, I used IFTTT to create a recipe to send my wife a notification whenever I started my car at the end of the day from my office’s coordinates. I customized the notification with a message, “I’m on my way home, honey! Love you!” so she would know I’m headed home from work (and it can’t hurt to remind her I love her, right?).

Where Is Greg's Car Twitter Bio

For experimentation’s sake, I created a Twitter account for my car, @WhereIsGregsCar, and set up triggers for the car to automatically tweet whenever I turn on the ignition or complete a trip, including distance traveled, gas mileage and estimated fuel cost (I disabled the map feature, but that’s an option, too).

Where is Greg's Car Twitter account via Automatic app

Where is Greg's Car Twitter account via Automatic app

I also have it sending this trip data to my Google Glass, again, just for experimentation’s sake. Users can also log every trip in a Google document (great for those expense reports!), post to Facebook and Twitter (if you absolutely must overshare!), or even turn on and off your lights when you leave and return home (through Philips Hue Lightbulbs!). And more.

This is just the beginning of auto manufacturers and after market providers finding ways to integrate our beloved social media into our vehicles.
With these new technologies and shifts in consumer behaviors, we will have new benefits and challenges to overcome — namely the implications of privacy and security. Meanwhile, I’m excited to have been asked into the alpha program for Automatic, and as always, our team will continue experimenting and testing these new technologies to better understand and help put these new consumer behaviors into context for our clients.

See you on the road!

Geoff Livingston says the marketing industry is pivoting from social media to the Internet of Things, and he’s completely correct.

My colleagues are growing tired of me repeating this, but I’m not sure this has fully soaked in with our industry peers.

Social media is no longer an emerging trend. Facebook turns 10 years old next month. 10. Twitter is 7. Foursquare is almost 5. Social media is a normal method of communication and engagement in 2014. Media that is social is now mainstream, and therefore we marketers need to be thinking about what’s next, how and why.

My primary takeaway of SXSW 2013 last March was a focus on human + tech experience over social:

Technology empowers us and betters our lives in so many ways other than Facebook Likes and mommy blog posts (don’t get me wrong, I love a good mommy blog post). It was fantastic to see true innovation this year — ambient umbrellas that forecast the weather, replication technology to make copies of physical objects, affordable flying machines (drones), and more.

CES 2014 will be more about enchanted objects that connect to the always-on web than communications and marketing, but it’s not difficult to apply the context of engagement and selling products and services to increasingly connected devices.

If you can put a sensor on something, it will soon have sensors. And it will be generating data that can allow companies to better learn about, market to, and share content with consumers. For example, even our toothbrushes will soon log our brushing stats with our mobile device and the cloud. If I sell toothpaste, toothbrushes or dental insurance, I should get in on that. You get my point.

Because marketing and consumer engagement in 2014 is so much more than real-time social media posts, user generated content and native advertising. On the shift from social to the Internet of Things, Livingston says:

It’s not a big surprise, after all 73 percent of online adults in the United States now use at least one social network site. Really, the only big things that happened last year in social were private messaging which seems like a reaction against public forms of social media and video social networking.

It’s not that businesses won’t continue spending on social or that PR people/community managers will be out of work. Far from it. Social isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s a primary driver of data needed for contextual media and word of mouth trust. Social remains a valuable asset for companies.

It’s just that, well, social media marketing is not new anymore. You could argue that companies are in the learning phase, but last I checked they were still determining how to build a decent website, too.

Plus companies just seem to fail when it comes to connecting with people online. The native advertising boom acknowledges that brands would rather pay to play than do the hard work of scaling social media communities.

So if social media has peaked, what should marketers be paying attention to?

New opportunities for consumer engagement and reach including and beyond social media.

It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how quickly we go back to Facebook and Twitter campaigns in our brainstorm and strategy sessions. Those sessions need to be disrupted by the fact that social media is in double digits now. The kids have moved on, and we need to be thinking about what’s next.

We must be focusing on opportunities like: wearable devices that create new opportunities to share content with context (like smartwatches and smart lenses/glasses), converting big and earned data into value (this may or may not include ingestible smart devices); digital and brand innovation beyond social media campaigns (I don’t care that your brand wished me a Merry Christmas; neither do your customers); and change management programs to help companies deliver on the two-way communication and listening programs they may have started with social media, but now need to mature.

As I head to CES, I’m excited about sensor innovation, connected devices, and new and disruptive technology that truly solves problems. I’ll be tweeting and blogging and posting to Facebook, of course.

I’m not foregoing social media. Rather, I’m building on its foundation and looking forward to the next thing.

Are you?

Some good reads:

But if you’re not going to have relevant content with your native ads, you might as well buy banners. Tricking users is not quality. – Adam Kleinberg

via Why Bad Native Advertising Is Worse Than Banners | DigitalNext: A Blog on Emerging Media and Technology – Advertising Age.

Tricking users is not quality

greg swan star tribune

I was quoted about memes — “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” — in the Star Tribune this week: Funky photo fads flourish thanks to social media:

Today’s memes are a manifestation of the remix culture that’s permeating art, advertising and media right now,” said Weber Shandwick’s Greg Swan. “Many discount the impact on pop culture that [they] have, but I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t know the chorus of Rebecca Black’s “Friday.’ ”

Read the whole entire here. And in case you’re not familiar with Friday, sing along here!

I’m quoted in this Finance and Commerce piece on social media measurement: Beyond guesswork: Companies work to measure the impact of social media

…But even despite the lack of an industry standard, experts say businesses engaging in social media must begin to measure and monitor their efforts even if they are at first measuring against themselves.

“What I say is benchmark today,” said Greg Swan, digital group manager at public relations firm Weber Shandwick. “For some of our clients for whom we have been measuring different social media impressions for years now, at this point we have a really good benchmark.”…

A company that has a manual sentiment analysis system to help clients measure and monitor social media is Weber Shandwick. Swan, at the company’s Bloomington office, said that the company’s Digital Media Scorecard can analyze the volume, content and sentiment of online conversations about a company or brand and then assign a numeric value to it.

“Software can calculate the number of comments on a post, but it takes a human to analyze the sentiment,” Swan said.

In fact, the lack of a gold standard in terms of measurement may force companies to set some parameters themselves instead of trying to live up to a standard, especially since most don’t expect a standard to emerge, now or ever.

So, for a business-to-business company, a few hundred views of a video that marketers put on YouTube may be a success. For a consumer-facing company that might be in the tens of thousands, Swan said. Thus, the onus of defining those objectives falls on businesses themselves.

Monty of Ford echoed Swan…

Read the entire piece here.

Faxbook: The Fax-Based Social NetworkMy friend and UK colleague James Warren has been evangelizing his concept of Faxbook: The Fax-Based Social Network for about a month now.

So if this social network is going to get get going, I decided to make us a cover page to get things started.

Get the Faxbook Cover Page Here (pdf)

I suggest you print it out and fax your contacts a friend request immediately.

If they will fax you back to accept, then you can start faxing each other status updates as frequently as possible.

If they don’t, well then maybe Faxbook is not for you.

The Faxbook friend requests and status updates have been rolling in today. Here’s today’s archive thus far.

It’s a fairly straightforward system. I essentially create a separate pile for each friend’s updates.

Not only does this help keep my desk clutter-free from an organizational perspective, it also makes “search” much easier.

What’s your Faxbook system?

Update 2:
Like Faxbook on Facebook

My new post on Social Studies:
“What does an abundance of information create? A scarcity of attention basically, right?” — Herbert Simon in 1971

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference is this week in Austin, TX. It’s the annual sharing and learning event for interactive professionals around the world.

This morning I hit the “Emerging From a Recession with Emerging Media” panel, featuring Patrick Moorhead of Razorfish and David Polinchock of the Brand Experience Lab.

The premise: The economy has tanked. Slides showing an entire foreclosed block of houses for sale, charts of stock prices and crying children quickly made their point for attendees. However, panelists argue, a poor economy is not a reason for marketers and brands to sit on their tried-and-true laurels.

More than 50 widely-successful companies were started during the Great Depression and/or 1970s Recession, including CNN, QuickTrip and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Polinchock made frequent reference to Encyclopedia Britannica sticking to their business model of selling information a letter book at a time for decades, ignoring that consumers were changing their consuption habits. Wikipedia may not be as trustworthy, but it’s instant and intuitive.

This is why it’s imperative for companies to reevaluate their approach to ROI, instead focusing on Return On Innovation as they weigh marketing strategies and tactics for the short and long term.

Technology You Won’t Be Able to Live Without 10 Years From Now

  • QR codes: tiny graphics that can be photographed/scanned to pull data or direct to a Web site
  • Real-time video: Companies like Qik already allow consumers to stream to the Web live from their phones. Can you imagine the implications of going to a concert where people are streaming the show live? It’s coming. (NOTE: This is one of my big concepts I’ve been talking about for a few years, actually. I want to go to YouTube Live and see 2,000 live feeds from fans at a Radiohead concert in Madrid by 2012. We’ll see…)
  • Ordering a Big Mac using RFID: The concept of ordering food by pointing your phone to the food you want, getting txt updates when it’s ready, billing it to your cell phone bill and your food knowing where you’re sitting in the restaurant. RFID has huge potential.
  • Visual search: the concept of typing “lime green shoelaces” into Google and getting 18,000 text results will seem archaic. We process visual information faster (don’t have to read). already lets you shop visually for shoes and handbags.


  • Don’t take technology for granted
  • Consumers get spoiled easily – expectations are high
  • Innovation happens – what are you going to do?
  • Evolve or die
  • Suspend disbelief in order to get smart
  • No “no risk”

Create customer engagements that are:

  • As intuitive as play
  • and are as emotional as film.

The panel ended with Polinchock showcasing this awesome interactive program for MSNBC NewsBreaker that allows cinema audiences to control the game. I took some video of the panel audience controlling the game:

Please leave comments over at Social Studies.

Alan Wolk, Conversations About the Future of Advertising

I attended the first 2009 Conversations About the Future of Advertising event (CATFOA) put on by Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) and Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD) at the Fine Line Music Cafe (FLMC) last night.

Wow, that’s a damn lot of acronyms there (WTAHOALOAT).

If you’re not already familiar, “CATFOA seeks to improve the quality of interactive marketing and advertising developed in the Twin Cities through enlightening presentations and their resulting conversation.”

Last year’s events were both informative and popular, bringing in a good assortment of nationally recognized media and marketing folks, including Joseph Jaffe (sporting shiny white tennis shoes, mind you) and Adweek’s Brian Morrissey.

Last night’s speaker was Alan Wolk, a New York marketing consultant known for his marketing blog, The Toad Stool, and most recently for his blog series, “Your Brand is Not My Friend.”

Here are a few highlights (captured in <140 character succinct bites, of course):

  • “99 percent of brands are NOT Prom Kings” (e.g., Whole Foods, Apple, Batman, Chicago Bears, Rolling Stones) -@awolk #catfoa
  • “Ads are now all about getting people to Google. Once this happened, tv and print couldn’t close the deal anymore” -@awolk #catfoa
  • “What consumers think is far more valuable than what the brand and ad agency have to say when driving purchase” -@awolk #catfoa

It has to be tough to come in from out of town and have to tackle a diverse crowd of consultants, agency veterans, designers, copywriters, social media gurus and/or recently laid-off folks who may or may not already know lots or very little about what you’re talking about. Hell, I’m still struggling with it. We’re a diverse group.

Unsurprisingly, the questions from the audience showed this diversity — from basic, “How do I know if my company should/should not be blogging?” to the more complex “How you monetize and prove ROI for social media tactics?”

Alan did a good job focusing on top-level concepts and citing a few real world case studies. And since some of us were ready for the 201 and 301-level discussion, his presentation helped kickstart post-lecture networking discussions among attendees, and you know me, I always love the opportunity to bring the interactive marketing community together and pool our intellectual capital (buzzword bingo, ftw!)

CATFOA provided that very opportunity last night (and free food, to boot). Thanks to MIMA, MCAD and Alan!

Check out the upcoming speakers and tell your coworkers they are missing out if they don’t show up (btw, it’s free):

Monday, March 9
Kristina Halvorson

Monday, April 6
Bob Thacker
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Advertising

Monday, April 27
David Armano
Vice President, Experience Design – Critical Mass
(and pundit at Logic+Emotion)

Monday, May 11
Michael Lebowitz
Founder & CEO