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Big changes are coming to Facebook Live. The social network will let broadcasts run for up to four hours – or even continuously in some cases. Plus, you can now hide reactions and comments, view livestreams in full-screen, and restrict who sees your broadcast.

Here’s a quick roundup of all the changes coming to Facebook Live that marketers need to know.

1. 4 Hour Live Streams

Since Facebook Live launched, livestreams have been limited to 90 minutes. Now Facebook is more than doubling that.

Yes, broadcasters are now restricted to a mere four hours for users when broadcasting via the Facebook app or using the Live API.

2. Hide Reactions & Comments

Don’t want to see comments and reactions while you’re broadcasting or watching? Facebook will now let you hide both in a video-only mode.

All you have to do is swipe right to hide comments and reactions. Swipe left to bring them back.

In theory, this will help reduce distractions and help keep viewers focused on the broadcast.

3. Full-Screen Live

One significant change that is more geared toward viewers than broadcasters is that viewers can now watch broadcasts in full-screen mode, rather than as a square we’ve become used to over the past several months.

Although Android users will have to wait for full-screen mode until summer, iOS users can enjoy this new feature right away. Full-screen will work with both landscape and portrait viewing when fully rolled out.

4. Continuous Live

Want to go live indefinitely on Facebook? Now you can.

Continuous live video was actually added a couple months ago, but this one slipped under the radar of many marketers. “Some great use cases for continuous live include live feeds of aquariums, museums, and zoos,” according to Facebook.

The catch with continuous live? Your followers won’t receive a notification that you’re live. Also, once you end broadcasting, it’s gone forever. Your followers have to literally watch it when it’s live – there’s no rewinding or reliving it.

5. Geogating

Want only men to watch your livestream? Or people who are located in certain places?

New audience restrictions, what Facebook calls “geogating,” were added to the Live API at the same time as continuous streaming. Now you can target or exclude people by:

Location – country, state, city, or ZIP code.
Age – you can specify a minimum and maximum age.
Gender

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/facebook-live-update/169111/

In 2015, feminist writer Clementine Ford was subjected to a surge of online abuse, dubbed a "whore" and a "bitch who should kill herself." Trolls said she needed to die, to be "shot in the face" and gang-raped. What was her crime? She had reported a comment from an employee of Meriton Apartments calling her a "slut" on Facebook, and as a consequence he was fired.

 

That same year, Germany took a stand on anti-refugee Facebook hate speech, and top publications began to silence the haters by removing the comments sections beneath their articles. The BBC concluded that 2015 was "the year angry won the internet." As online hate speech spirals out of control, in contrast, 2016 could well be the year the internet fought back.

The biggest names in tech — Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft — have vowed to clean up community hate speech in less than 24 hours of it appearing in accordance with a new EU code of conduct. Some say this is censorship, but there is real danger attached to the facilitation of online trolling, and recent terrorist activities have shone a spotlight on this. So, what exactly does Facebook have on its hands, and how can it begin the mammoth task of cleaning this up?

The supposed demise of the comments section
A 2014 survey conducted by the Associated Press revealed that 70 percent of online publishers valued the comments sections that follow articles online. These tools ignite conversion; they allow for an exchange of ideas and deeper engagement, and they drive increased traffic to media sites.

Continued abuse of this privilege from those acting under the guise of anonymity has been seen in the torrent of racist or xenophobic language and personal attacks. This hate speech may be directed at writers, subjects or other members of the community.

 

U.K. news publication The Guardian analyzed more than 70 million comments from the last decade. It highlighted the positives online comments can provide: Providing instant feedback, "asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads," a tool that serves to "enrich the Guardian’s journalism." However, the "dark side of comments" revealed a huge amount of abuse, with 1.4 million comments blocked. Further exploration of this hate speech revealed that eight of the 10 most-abused writers were women, and the other two were black, despite these writers forming a minority of the editorial staff.

Chicago Sun Times managing editor Craig Newman described the issue as "a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content," explaining his decision to temporarily remove the comments section from the publication.

Many others have followed suit, choosing to kill the comments in order to avoid moderating the growing mass of hate speech. Top publications that have rejected comments include Reuters, Recode, The Week, Bloomberg, The Verge, The Daily Dot, The Daily Beast and Vice’s Motherboard, to name just a few.

Reuters’ executive editor told readers that the news company was moving the discussion to social media: "Those communities offer vibrant conversation and, importantly, are self-policed by participants to keep on the fringes those who would abuse the privilege of commenting."

Social media giants battle hate speech
Unfortunately, any dreams of a self-moderated social media community free of online trolls, were not to be. On the contrary, these forums have become a breeding ground for racial slurs, misogynistic language and personal attacks.

Twitter sees an average of 480,000 racist tweets a month (compared to 10,000 only three years ago). "We suck at dealing with abuse," said Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo. Once again, however, Facebook leads the race, with a whopping 1 million user violation reports every day. So what type of threatening behavior are we seeing, and how is this connected to the news?

 

My company, BrandBastion, conducted a study measuring the amount and type of social media threats in 40,000 comments, from 10 of the most engaged news publishers on Facebook: ABC News, CBS News, Sky News, NBC News, CNN, Time, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

We found that one in 14 comments contained a social media threat. Some 31 percent of these threats were identified as extremely aggressive "defamatory language, profanity and online bullying." A further 20 percent were classified as "hate speech," attacking a person or group based on specific attributes.

When exploring the topics that generated the largest proportion of hate speech, we found articles around the elections incited the most anger. Highly offensive attacks on Melania Trump, calling her "ugly," "fake" and "nasty" rapidly escalated to graphically lewd comments and racial battles between commenters. Overall, the hate speech we discovered focused on nationality (33 percent), religion (31 percent), race (18 percent), sexual orientation (9 percent), gender (6 percent) and political views (4 percent).

As the elections heat up, sites like Facebook are going to have their hands full monitoring and controlling this spread of offensive commenting. With his latest pledge to quash the hatred, all eyes are on Mark Zuckerberg to manage this torrent of abusive behavior.

Community solutions to counter the offensive
Where status updates and selfies once dominated, Facebook today has become a portal for the news. According to traffic-analytics service Parse.ly, social media drives 43 percent of traffic to media sites. Facebook is unquestionably the largest source and has overtaken Google referral traffic, which accounts for just 38 percent.

What’s more, with advanced tools such as Facebook’s Instant Articles — now officially rolled out to all publishers — article consumption is likely to stay within the Facebook domain. This means Facebook has a huge power over how we consume the news and its connected comments, making its next steps all the more crucial.

Gigaom writer Mathew Ingram claims the move of news discussion onto sites like Facebook knowingly hands off the responsibility of moderating content to social media platforms. But it also means digital publications pass up on the "value of engagement" that comments bring.

 

So how does the social networking Goliath intend to remove all hate speech within 24 hours, in line with the latest EU code of conduct? The IT companies have all agreed to put in place notification processes, reviewing these against community guidelines removing or disabling content within 24 hours. They have pledged to educate users, training staff and sharing procedural information with authorities and intensifying cooperation between the giants of tech.

This year Facebook has been involved with a number of initiatives, backing a campaign against misogyny and launching the Online Civil Courage Initiative in January to empower users to fight extremist abuse.

Some media platforms rely wholly on user moderation, self-censorship or a members-only commenting model. After feminist site Jezebel suffered an epidemic of rape GIFs filling the comments section, it brought back the "pending comment system," meaning only comments from approved commenters are visible; all others go into a pending queue, which only shows up if readers choose to allow it.

Former Reddit product executive Dan McComas cofounded Imzy, a social platform set on eliminating hate speech by only allowing registered members to comment in the forums. SolidOpinion.com has another strategy, limiting commenting ability only to paying members. This approach has attracted customers such as Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, controversially putting a price on freedom of speech. Another startup, Civil Comments, works on the basis that users rate randomly chosen comments to classify acceptable material and flag offensive content.

Artificial intelligence to aid moderation
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has called on the tech community to create "spell-checkers, but for hate and harassment," to counter online terrorism. Applying this intelligence to article comments would be a natural progression of this. The Guardian recently reported tactics to "weed out the trolls," concluding that moderation is necessary, through human decisions backed by "smart tools." However, this all requires an internationally agreed-upon definition of hate speech and a system that is able to decipher context and also links to external sites.

 

Facebook has already turned to the use of AI to report offensive visual content. Currently this technology reports more offensive photos than humans on the network pick-up. Last year, Twitter followed this example, investing in visual intelligence startup MadBits to identify and flag harmful images.

The Huffington Post uses a machine learning algorithm called JuLiA — "Just a Linguistic Algorithm" — to sort through comments, identifying abusive language to aid moderators in providing a healthy interaction. Others have turned to third-party technologies that can customize tools based on media sites’ preferences and needs, their target audiences and geographical locations and laws. These steps are an alternative to censorship by removing comments entirely, instead protecting the facilities that enable others to speak more freely.

Will more news sites bring back the comments? This all depends on how successfully Facebook and co. rid them of hatred. As the trolls become the internet norm, the media world is pulling out the big guns to overthrow them, arming AI with contextual understanding and advanced intelligence and empowering communities to fight back.

Sources:  http://www.recode.net/2016/7/11/12123318/facebook-media-trolls-hate-speech-online-abuse-comments

 

 

 

 

 

Categorized in Others

 

Two years ago, Messenger, a photo and text messaging service, appeared to be almost an afterthought at Facebook, the social networking giant.

Messenger often took a back seat to the limelight enjoyed by WhatsApp, the messaging app that Facebook had bought for $US19 billion. And Messenger's capabilities were so limited that you could not send friends an animated GIF, as you could with many other messaging services.

But since mid-2014, Facebook has been playing a furious game of catch-up with Messenger. That June, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, hired a PayPal executive, David Marcus, to take over Messenger and build it into a world-class competitor. The company has added a string of features to the service, including letting people send money to friends through the app, pull up a voice or video call, or order a private car from inside the app.

Over the weekend, Facebook said it will also begin testing "secret conversations" inside Messenger, a feature that offers end-to-end encryption on some messages to be read only on the two mobile devices that users are communicating with. While it stops short of the full encryption that other messaging services like WhatsApp have adopted, it gives Messenger a heightened mode of security that Facebook hopes will attract global audiences to download the app.

 

"The fact that we have 1.65 billion people on Facebook already makes Messenger the best live, self-updating address book in the world," Marcus said in an interview. "Because of the scale of our network, I feel like we really have a shot at this."

The new security feature highlights Facebook's ambitions for Messenger, which now sees more than 900 million regular monthly users, up from 200 million in early 2014. Roughly half of all American smartphone owners use the Messenger app, according to industry estimates, and Facebook is aiming to capture greater numbers in international markets. Most of Messenger's success has been in English-speaking areas like North America and much of Europe, the company said, as well as Australia and large parts of Southeast Asia.

The moves put Facebook Messenger increasingly into competition with messaging apps that have risen to prominence in their particular regions or countries. WeChat, the mobile messaging app owned by the Chinese internet giant Tencent, dominates China. Kakao, another app, is widely used throughout South Korea, while the Line smartphone app is popular in Japan.

"Just look at how successful WeChat has become for Tencent," said Debra Aho Williamson, an internet analyst with eMarketer. "That's the kind of ubiquity Facebook wants to achieve with Messenger."

And when combined with WhatsApp, which has more than 1 billion users, Facebook has now become a juggernaut in messaging worldwide. While WhatsApp and Messenger are run separately, both provide a window into how people communicate and their habits in payments, digital entertainment and more.

Facebook started Messenger in 2011. The app emulated some of the capabilities that could be done within Facebook's social network, where people could press a message button to exchange communications with one another. That message feature within the main social networking app was disabled in April 2014, pushing people to turn to Messenger. Two months later, Zuckerberg hired Marcus to run Messenger.

Marcus soon quickened the pace of product releases at Messenger, adding peer-to-peer money transfers, the ability to hire an Uber car through the app and support for GIFs. By late 2015, Messenger had more than 700 million monthly regular users.

Adding more encryption with secret conversations, which Facebook plans to roll out widely by the end of the summer, is aimed at coaxing people to use the service for more communication. Someone could set a message to disappear after a period of time, which may make them more willing to exchange personal information with a company's customer service representative on Messenger. People have to opt in to use secret conversations, the company said.

To keep Messenger's momentum going, Marcus said he expected the fast pace of product releases for the app to continue.

"To make Messenger your preferred and primary communication platform, we have to build capabilities different from anyone else," he said.

Source:  http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/facebook-to-add-encrypted-secret-conversations-to-messenger-app-20160711-gq2ybk.html

 

 

Categorized in Others

Facebook Messenger is launching new security features to better protect user messages from prying eyes (like those of, say, the FBI).

The company announced Friday that it built a new feature inside Messenger called “secret” messages, or private conversations that are end-to-end encrypted. These messages will be stored only on the sender’s and recipient’s devices, not on Facebook’s servers like regular Messenger messages.

Facebook is also rolling out what amounts to a self-destruct timer for these messages, which means you can set them to disappear automatically after a set period of time (from five seconds to 24 hours).

Messenger is the latest in a string of private messaging services to bust out some kind of end-to-end encryption in the last six months. Others include Viber, which launched end-to-end encryption in April, and Facebook’s other messaging app, WhatsApp.

The timing of all this doesn’t feel coincidental. The move comes just a few months after government agencies and tech companies battled over user privacy. Government agencies like the FBI don’t like end-to-end encryption because it provides a security risk when it’s used by criminals. Users (and tech companies), on the other hand, seem to love the idea, as they like to know their private messages are actually private.

Facebook says that you’ll have to turn on a secret chat manually for it to work, because Messenger is cross-device (meaning people can carry their conversations from their phones to their laptops to their tablets). Since messages that are end-to-end encrypted only live on the devices they are delivered to, a secret chat on your smartphone won’t be accessible via Messenger on your tablet, for example.

Secret messages will roll out to a limited test group to start, but Facebook “fully expects this to be available to everyone by end of the summer,” a spokesperson said.

Source:  http://www.recode.net/2016/7/8/12126764/facebook-messenger-encryption-disappearing-messages-security-update

Categorized in Others

 

Private messages that can disappear are being trialled by Facebook as it experiments with a new option for those using its Messenger app.

They become hidden after a certain period of time chosen by the author, the firm said.
It is part of a new "secret message" service having a limited trial, Facebook announced.
Senders must choose one device to use it on, as messages sent this way are stored on the device itself.
Those flagged to "disappear" will be deleted from the device as well.

"Starting a secret conversation with someone is optional," it said.
"Secret conversations can only be read on one device and we recognise that experience may not be right for everyone."

Facebook secret message screenshots

 

Facebook listed health and financial issues as examples of messages that people may wish to keep more private - while others have mentioned love affairs.The idea is being trialled on a "limited basis", Facebook said, but added that it would be more widely available over the summer.Video and GIFs cannot be shared secretly at the moment.

The service will also have extra features for reporting abuse - and once this is introduced, there will be a delay in the deletion of messages to enable flagging.

"Facebook will never have access to plain text messages unless one participant in a secret conversation voluntarily reports the conversation," it explained in a technical document.

Tech spec

The service is built on the Signal protocol by Open Whisper Systems, which is widely used by messaging apps, said cybersecurity expert Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University.

"Signal is well tested and those who developed it are well regarded in the cryptography community," he said.

"But the problem with something effectively becoming an open standard in this way is that if ever a problem were found it could have widespread impact."

Prof Woodward added that the technical report released by Facebook was "not as complete as many would like" in terms of assessing the service's security.

"If I were to choose any messaging system I would look for it to be based on Signal at present.
"However, I'd like to know more about exactly how it is implemented, or at least know that those who can analyse such systems have scrutinised the code."

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36744470

 

 

Categorized in Others

Earlier this week, Twitter announced a new feature called ‘Stickers’. Essentially, theses are a mash-up of hashtags, emoticons, and Snapchat filters all in one easy-to-use photo features.

Like hashtags, stickers are also searchable. After you use one you can then click on the sticker to view a newsfeed of other users who have used the same sticker. Because of the search feature, Twitter stickers could be more useful to brands than Snapchat’s filters.

Similar to Snapchat filters, Twitter’s stickers are a fun way to personalize pictures.

Connect your photos to the world with a visual spin on hashtags: tap #Stickers to peel back a fun new way to search. pic.twitter.com/YVy7r53Nja

— Twitter (@twitter) June 27, 2016

How Could Brands Use Twitter Stickers?

While they might seem like nothing more than another silly way to personalize photos, the search feature makes Twitter stickers extremely interesting for brands, particularly if Twitter offers sponsored stickers, similar to Snapchats sponsored filters.

Image if Finding Dory sponsored a fish or aquarium sticker. Pixar could then easily engage with users who use the sticker by retweeting and sharing GIF collections of their favorites. They could then retarget those users with ads to purchase a DVD of the movie or collectibles. They could even add a photo backdrop that interacts with the sticker in the theater to encourage users to share what are essentially branded photos.

Currently, Stickers are rolling out to a limited number of users. Sadly, I am not one of them. This tweet from Linda Jiang, Strategy and Operations Program Manager at Twitter, shows how much fun we could be having:

Tuesday Mornings at SF Media! pic.twitter.com/2NUwmKzXQf

— Linda Jiang (@lindaj) June 28, 2016

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/twitter-announces-stickers-emoticons-snapchat-filters/167117/

Categorized in Social

Venture capitalist Jim Breyer knows a bit about the next big tech revolution. He backed Facebook when it was just a baby in 2005. The social network is now worth over $326 billion.

So where should you be putting your money next? Into artificial intelligence, according to Breyer, an area which will create more wealth than that made for internet and social network investors.

Breyer expects artificial intelligence to transform content and the film entertainment business."

"Ten years from now, it will have even more significant wealth creation, stockholder appreciation opportunities, than what I believe we saw in social networks in 2005 and internet investing in 1995," Breyer told an audience at the Viva Technology conference in Paris on Thursday.

Breyer was a former board member of Facebook and is still a significant shareholder. Through his firm Breyer Capital, he has also invested in a number of other companies including music streaming service Spotify and movie production start-up Legendary Entertainment, which was recently acquired by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda for $3.5 billion.

At Legendary Entertainment, Breyer said he saw the use of artificial intelligence which has the potential to revolutionize the industry. Legendary Entertainment was behind the blockbuster movie "Interstellar" and Breyer explained how artificial intelligence was used to get the trailer right.

"We applied statistics, machine learning, and a small group of data developers to analyze how that first trailer of Interstellar was received on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. We then used that data to inform us on how that second trailer should look and the final trailer," Breyer said.

"What really mattered for us, how many theaters should we open in, where should we open, how should we market, and where a 150 million (dollars) might be used typically for a marketing budget for a film, narrowing that down to perhaps 100 million (dollars), and using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, human-assisted learning, with the data...it's far less costly, fare more effective."

The technology will also be used to inform casting decisions, budgets, and other aspects of making a movie Breyer said, who predicted that the movie industry will be "revolutionized by artificial intelligence".

Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/2016/07/01/ai-will-be-a-bigger-than-social-networks-internet-early-facebook-backer.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

By the end of 2017, Facebook’s messaging app will look a whole lot different. Apart from a better messaging experience, this may also mean the end of phone numbers as we know it.Facebook messaging products’ vice president David Marcus believes phone numbers will eventually become obsolete as a form of communication

In an interview with Time magazine, Marcus said he believes chat apps will become so popular that they will replace phone numbers.

“The real question is, in a couple of years if you will need a phone number on a business card? Or if you’ll need a business card at all for people to find you,” the Facebook executive said.

“It’s a profound change actually, and I believe it’s really happening. People used to call your house, they didn’t call you. And so we went from calling your house, to calling your number, to calling you for real. It’s an interesting evolution,” he added.Revealing Facebook’s ambitious plans for this year, Marcus said by the end of 2017, Facebook’s messaging app “will look a whole lot different.”

Apple introducing new iMessage features to take on competitors

Speaking about the new Facebook Messenger inbox layout, which will show information like your friends’ birthdays as well as which of your friends are active on Messenger at a given moment, he said, “We believe birthdays are actually a really important thing, especially for your close friends. Birthdays, for [most] of your friends, you’re probably more inclined to write on their Facebook page.”

However, in some cases, you might want to message your friends on their birthdays but may not want to disturb them by calling. That’s where Marcus believes Messenger’s ‘Active Now’ feature will come in handy. As opposed to phone calls and texting, which are involved processes, ‘Active Now’ feature ensures that the friend you want to talk is available to chat, he explained.

Responding to a query regarding introduction of a reaction tool in Messenger, like tapping on a piece of dialogue to like it similar to the one announced by Apple recently, Marcus said it is on their long wish list to make group messaging better.

There’s a football game hidden inside Facebook messenger

The Facebook executive also hinted at the possibility of rationalising notifications to differentiate between those from humans versus chat bots. However, Marcus held that most of the notifications that we receive are from friends and further, one can preview the notification to know what it is. But, “If there are lots of interactions that actually notify people a lot, we can mute these notifications, or we can group them. Right now it’s not a problem, it’s a hypothetical future problem,” he said.

With reference to his blog post from January, in which Marcus revealed that there are innovations coming to Messenger this year, he said voice and video calling feature to Messenger was the first step in that direction.

“We’re really intrigued by, what are the next forms of real time communication? So we’re thinking about how do we actually reinvent a little bit those real-time communications,” said Marcus. However, he refused to give any hint about what’s coming next.

There’s a football game hidden inside Facebook messenger

Further, he said, Facebook is also considering investing in making photo sharing inside Messenger better.

Apart from that, Facebook is also looking to make groups a lot better. “We just want to make sure groups are really easy to create, that everybody can be included in them, and that they’re easy to find. I think it’s a really good group product, but I think it can become an awesome group product,” he added.

Explaining why companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are making efforts to improve their chat apps, Marcus said one of the biggest factor is that people now spend more time on messaging apps than ever. Currently, over 900 million are on Messenger, while over a billion on WhatsApp. Marcus also said there was a time when SMS was a big thing. While it was instant and easy, he argued that in terms of capabilities SMS was very narrow.

Now, the prevalence of broadband connectivity on devices is allowing devices and operating systems to expand exponentially. “And as a result you can build compelling experiences inside messaging apps that solve a lot of the real problems, like the friction involved in downloading, installing and signing up for an app all the way to the shortfalls of the mobile web,” he added.

Source:  http://tribune.com.pk/story/1125313/facebook-going-kill-phone-number/

Categorized in Social

As marketers, writers and crafters, we spend hours on bringing our content ideas to life and after all that effort, want our content to be seen.

Writing powerful social media copy to grab people’s eyes and win their hearts is a challenge, though. And often, when our content isn’t breaking through the noise we can fix it with a few slight edits and tweaks.

Editing content and copy is a key part of the creative process but is often overlooked. In this post, I’d love to share 11 editing tips and tricks to help you take your social media content to the next level.

Ready to jump in?

Here we go…

These 11 powerful, uber-specific editing actions will help you make your social media copy more addictive, engaging, and compelling.

1. Focus on the Reader

When you’re creating social media content, you face stiff competition for attention. Friends, family, celebrities, other brands and more are all vying for your reader’s attention on social networks. If you’d like to stand out and be seen, it’s important to create your content with the reader in mind.

Instead of focusing on ‘you’, try putting emphasis on the reader. For example, in a post about launching a new product we could say:We’ve just launched our new product, Buffer for Video.

But the focus of this copy feels a little off. We haven’t shown why the reader why they should care or how this post may be helpful to them. Something like the below copy could be better.You can now upload, share, and schedule video from Buffer to all your social media networks. Upload once, share everywhere!

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

2. Build Curiosity

Building curiosity is an incredibly powerful technique to help improve your copy (especially if you’re trying to get people to click on and engage your social media posts).

In its simplest terms, curiosity is triggered when people feel there is a gap between what they know and what they want to know. Professor of Economics and Psychology, George Loewenstein, is an expert in curiosity. He conducted a study into what triggers high levels of curiosity and discovered that it peaks when:

something violates our expectations (often curiosity is triggered by challenging common beliefs)teases a gap in our knowledge (AKA, the “information gap”)
it’s not overdone (curiosity can get someone to click a headline, but it won’t keep them on your site forever)

Here at Buffer we understand our audience tends to be interested in becoming better marketers and figuring out how they can use social media to attract more traffic, links, and customers to their business. We could run a Facebook post with copy like:

Why Facebook Reach is Dipping For Everyone

It might grab some attention but I have a slight hunch most people will probably feel they can live without clicking on this post.

However a headline like:

Facebook Reach is Declining: Here’s What to Do About it in Just 15 Minutes Per Day

Could be more effective for a few reasons:

The reader may feel there’s an information gap around how they can combat declining reach on Facebook
there’s a promise to solve a problem (increasing your Facebook reach)
it may go against common beliefs (you won’t need to spend all day implementing these tips)

Another example could be:

Check out these great Facebook marketing tips

This is cool, but there’s no hook and nothing to spark curiosity. As a reader, I may think: “Maybe I already know these tips…” 0r “I probably don’t need to click this…”

I feel like this one could work a little better:

11 Facebook tips and tricks you probably don’t already know (and how they work for real-life businesses)

The wording above feels like it opens up a much bigger information gap, “you probably don’t already know” indicates that the content may be new or a little different to what the reader already understands about Facebook. And using “real-life” also shows that these tips and tricks are working for other business, so by not clicking you could be missing out.

Here’s a real-world example from Shopify:

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

3. Treat Each Post as a Story

Stories are an extremely good way to connect with people. Stories draw readers in and engage them. And when it comes to writing social media copy, a good trick is to treat each post as a story with characters who carry out actions.

Let’s say you’re experiencing a little downtime on your website, you may share a Tweet or Facebook post along the lines of: Apologies for the disruptions – our website is experiencing some technical difficulties right now.

When you break down this sentence there are three characters in play: ‘we’, ‘our website’ and ‘you’. However, each character’s actions aren’t really covered. A better option could be:

Apologies, you may experience a few issues getting onto our website at the moment, as we’re having some technical issues. We’re working on a fix and will let you know when we’re back up and running.

This version makes the story and how it affects each character a little easier to digest:

Our website: is experiencing technical issues

You: won’t be able to access for a little while

We: are fixing it and will let you know when normal service is resumed

4. Focus on Value

Before you share anything to social channels, stop to think about value and ask yourself: Why are you sharing this? Why will people care? What’s the value in this for our fans?

People like to be able to justify their actions and have an underlying reason for them as Dr. Robert Cialdini, explained in his book, Influence: “A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” And social media is no different. Every click, Like or Retweet will be triggered by some kind of value or reason.

In your social media copy, try to focus on the value for the reader and make it clear why they should care about your post. It’s also worth focusing on value with any calls-to-action within your social media content. For example, instead of ‘click now to read more,’ you could try something that promises a little more value, like ‘discover more insights.’

The below post from Evernote clearly displays the value for the reader:

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

5. Keep a Consistent Voice

Customers get to know a company’s personality through social media and across every social media post, it’s important for the company’s personality or voice to be consistent.

Mailchimp is a great example of a brand who keeps their voice consistent across all channels. They even have a website dedicated to explaining how they speak with customers.

We were hugely inspired by MailChimp’s voice-and-tone guide and have published a tone guide for how we write for our customers in emails, on twitter, with product messages, on our blog, and everywhere else we might interact. Our tone guide explains:

We are grateful for our customers. We have great respect for them. We listen. We are open for the next communication. We are here for them.In all customer communications, they’re doing us the favor. (Not the other way around. :))

To the customer, our language and tone say: I am grateful for you. I have great respect for you. I am listening. I am open. I am here.This guide helps us whenever we communicate with customers and can be great for helping us create copy for social media posts.

6. Write in Second Person

Brilliant social media copy speaks to readers on an intimate level. And second person is the most engaging narrative mode because it feels personal. Pronouns like “you,” “your,” and “yours” help us to connect with our audience through words.

Crafting engaging, intimate copy that entices readers to take action is extremely difficult to do, but thinking about things in second person is a great starting point. For example, instead of:

Here’s the lowdown in Instagram’s new features

You could say:

Want to master the latest Instagram features? We’ve got just the thing for you…

Here’s a great example from Shopify:

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

7. Use a Copy Formula

Writing catchy, captivating social copy is hard work, especially if you’re trying to share multiple posts across different platforms every day or putting together a content calendar.

Finding a great copywriting formula that works for you—whether it’s a storytelling formula, a headline formula, or any other—can be a big-time productivity boost and help you nail down some amazing, eye-catching posts.

One of my personal favorite formulas is the Before – After – Bridge (one we use frequently here on the blog). Here’s how it works:

Before – Here’s your world …

After – Imagine what it’d be like, having Problem A solved …

Bridge – Here’s how to get there.

First, you describe a problem, followed by a world where that problem doesn’t exist, then explain how to get there. I love its simplicity and versatility, at Buffer we use it for blog post titles, social media updates, email subjects and much more.

For example:

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

8. Keep it Simple

Social media posts don’t need to be a work of literary art. People have incredibly short attention spans online and often it’s more effective to be short and concise with your copy. Try to lean towards short, simple words, for example:

show instead of indicate

get instead of secure

best instead of terrific

When it comes to social media content, simple is beautiful. Sometimes all you may need is a one or two-word caption to inspire action from your audience. Here’s a great example from The Next Web:

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

9. Add an Emoji (or Two)

It’s no longer just teenagers or younger people who are using emoji’s – they’ve reached the mainstream.Over 6 billion emojis are sent every single day and according to Swyft Media, 74 percent of people in the U.S. regularly use stickers, emoticons or emojis in their online communication, sending an average of 96 emojis or stickers per day.

When it comes to social media posts, emoji’s can make a huge difference to your post performance as an Amex Open Forum study on Facebook engagement discovered:

Posts with emoticons receive a 33% higher share rate.

Posts with emoticons receive a 33% higher comment rate.

Posts with emoticons receive a 57% higher like rate.

When you’re editing your next post or putting together your content calendar, it could be worth playing around with some emoji’s to see how they fit in with your copy.

11 Simple Edits to Improve Your Social Media Content | SEJ

10. Ask a Question

You know that amazing feeling where you’re having a great conversation with a good friend? They’re listening to you, taking it all in and sharing thoughtful replies and questions. Great social media posts can provide that exact feeling, too.

To truly engage with your audience and build genuine connections, try to see social media as an opportunity to start a conversation. Every single social media post you share can make a lasting impression with someone if you use the right copy and really connect with them.

Questions are a great way to bring your reader into the conversation and increase replies and comments on your content. For example, instead of posting:Here are the most popular 360 videos on Facebook

You could try something like:

Have you watched any 360 videos on Facebook yet? Here are the most popular

11. Play With Punctuation

The rules around punctuation can get extremely complicated. But the truth is, you don’t need to know the difference between a serial comma and an Oxford comma to write a great social media post.

Feel free to experiment with punctuation a little in your content and don’t worry about being 100% correct with every comma or exclamation mark. As long as it feels good and reads nicely, you’ll be fine and including a few extra marks could even increase your engagement as Hubspot discovered:

Posts with exclamation mark (!) see 2.7% more interactions on average
Posts that ask questions (?) garner 23% more engagement on average

Over to You

It isn’t easy to edit content and make it stand out. But hopefully, the extra time and effort put into refining each post you share will be worth it.

Sometimes you’ll have to be a little ruthless and chop some copy away. Other times all it may take is one exclamation mark (!), or an emoji...

Categorized in Social

Social media has overtaken television as young people's main source of news, according to a report.Of the 18-to-24-year-olds surveyed, 28% cited social media as their main news source, compared with 24% for TV.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism research also suggests 51% of people with online access use social media as a news source.

This trend and the rising use of mobile phones to access news are undermining traditional business models.

Chart showing that more people now access news from social media in the US, but most use news apps in the UK

The report, now in its fifth year, is based on a YouGov survey of about 50,000 people across 26 countries, including 2,000 Britons.

In its introduction, the report says "a second wave of disruption" has hit news organisations around the world, with "potentially profound consequences both for publishers and the future of news production".

Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology correspondent

For older media organisations struggling to find a profitable path in the online era, there is little comfort to be found in this report.Under 10% of readers in English-speaking countries have paid anything for online news in the past year - so advertising looks the only sustainable business model.

No wonder, then, that the march of the ad-blockers is seen by some news businesses as a threat to their very survival.And while there still seems to be a big appetite for news, it is to social-media platforms that users are increasingly turning to find it.

This means Facebook is the most powerful force in global news, potentially offering publishers access to vast audiences but leaving them dependent on the whims of its algorithm.

The good news for the old media is it is still producing far more of the heavyweight news stories read by the online audience, with readers turning to the newcomers for softer fare.

The bad news is that making money out of the expensive business of serious journalism is getting ever harder.

Chart showing that Facebook is the top social network for news out of 26 countries surveyed.

Facebook and other social media outlets have moved beyond being "places of news discovery" to become the place people consume their news, it suggests.

And news via social media is particularly popular among women and young people.
Meanwhile, sales of printed newspapers continue to fall, while consumers remain reluctant to pay much for online news content.

The study found Facebook was the most common source - used by 44% of all those surveyed - to watch, share and comment on news.

Next came YouTube on 19% , with Twitter on 10%.
Apple News accounted for 4% in the US and 3% in the UK, while messaging app Snapchat was used by just 1% or less in most countries.

Facebook has recently been embroiled in a row over whether its trending topics section - which is edited by humans and designed to highlight the subjects being discussed by users around the world - was suppressing stories that supported conservative political viewpoints.

The social media giant strenuously denied the accusations, and an internal investigation found no evidence of bias - but it did make a number of changes, including:

updating terminology in its guidelines to human reviewers
giving more oversight to the review team no longer relying on lists of external websites and news outlets to assess the importance of topics in stories

News by algorithm

According to the survey, consumers are happy to have their news selected by algorithms, with 36% saying they would like news chosen based on what they had read before and 22% happy for their news agenda to be based on what their friends had read.

But 30% still wanted the human oversight of editors and other journalists in picking the news agenda and many had fears about algorithms creating news "bubbles" where people only see news from like-minded viewpoints.

"People like the convenience of algorithms choosing their news but are worried about whether that would mean they were missing out on key points or challenging viewpoints," said lead author Nic Newman.

Percentage who have paid for online news in last year

Norway 27%

Poland 20%

Sweden 20%

Italy 16%

Denmark 15%

Finland 15%

Japan 12%

Netherlands 12%

Belgium 12%

France 11%

Switzerland 10%

Australia 10%

Spain 10%

USA 9%

Ireland 9%

Portugal 9%

Canada 9%

Germany 8%

Hungary 8%

Czech Republic 7%

Austria 7%

Greece 7%

UK 7%

The other big change noted by the research was the continued rise of smartphones to access news.

Most of those surveyed said they used a smartphone to access news, with the highest levels in Sweden (69%), Korea (66%) and Switzerland (61%), and they were more likely to use social media rather than going directly to a news website or app.

Chart showing that more people surveyed in the UK now access news via mobile rather than desktop

The report also suggests users are noticing the original news brand behind social media content less than half of the time, something that is likely to worry traditional media outlets.

Such outlets "cannot afford to ignore social media, especially if they want to reach young people and women", said Mr Newman, but he admitted that created a dilemma.

"In doing so, they risk losing control of content and that relationship with the reader which can drive them to other content, so they have to balance using social media platforms with building up a loyal user base of their own," he said.

The report is supported by BBC News, Google and Ofcom, among other partners.

Source:  http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-36528256

Categorized in Social
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