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THE SPIN CYCLE — Key results from Pew’s social media survey

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

As Meerkat loses the spotlight to Periscope and everyone tries to remember what Ello was all about, we could use a bit of research for clarity on the current state of social media.

The ever-reliable Pew Research Center did just that with its extensive study on The Digital Lives of Teenagers. Here are the top takeaways:

1. Facebook is just fine, thanks.

The number of teens who use “more than one social network” is identical to the number who counts

themselves as active Facebook users. It may not be cutting-edge anymore, but it’s here to stay – and the billion dollars Mark Zuckerberg paid for Instagram looks more like a sweet deal every day.

2. There’s an age and gender divide in social.

The stereotype labeling girls as more “visual” than boys holds true for social media: boys are more active on Facebook while more girls use Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

3. Messaging apps are the future.

Kids are texting like crazy: the average teen sends and/or receives 30 text messages every day. The number of teens who use social media (71 percent) is nearly identical to the number who has access to smartphones (73 percent), and quite a few of them (33 percent) have messaging apps like WhatsApp.

4. Teens are optimized for mobile.

The findings are nearly universal: the vast majority of teens go online more than once every day, and well over 90 percent of them do it on a mobile device.

5. Anonymous messaging is catching on.

Despite the bad press earned by Whisper and Yik Yak, young people are very much into anonymity. Not only are girls (13 percent) more interested in these apps than boys (8 percent), but and Hispanic teens are far more likely to use them than their peers at 16 percent.

6. Economics play a big role in social media behavior.

In what may be the most interesting finding in the study, Pew notes that family income correlates directly to Facebook use: the more money a given teen’s family makes, the more likely he or she is to use every other network from Twitter to Pinterest.

7 ways content marketing is changing in 2015

When you look at Internet marketing, there is perhaps no single area that evolves faster or changes more frequently than content. From what you write and where you publish to how you disseminate that content and engage with readers, the ideology behind what’s effective and what isn’t is continually changing – and usually for the better. Throughout 2015, your content marketing success will depend on how well you can stick with the trends.

Recently, Smart Insights conducted a poll with Forbes readers about content marketing. The results: 29.6 percent of respondents believe content will be their top digital marketing tool this year. Here are seven ways content marketing is pushing the needle:

1. Increased spend on content creation. It’s quite clear that digital marketing has become the backbone for most B2C and B2B enterprises in the private sector. In fact, one report suggests the average enterprise brand plans on dedicating a hefty15 percent of their marketing budgets to content creation.

2. Enhanced focus on personalization. There are two primary causes of the enhanced focus on content personalization going forward: (1) social networking sites and evolving technologies are providing marketers with incredibly sophisticated data and insights, and (2) there’s so much saturation on the web that businesses are being forced to search for ways to separate themselves from the competition.

3. Better use of visual content. All you have to do is look at the direction of social media to understand where the future of content lies. Over the past two years, Internet users have flocked towards images, videos, and graphics – and the move appears to be permanent. Visual content performs much better than static text and the content marketing field will be forced to appeal to these demands. This trend also goes hand in hand with the evolution of content as a storytelling medium. Visual content is much more conducive to telling brand stories than text – which means videos and infographics will only increase in importance this year.

4. More access to measurement tools. Folks in the analytics industry are anticipating the coming months with plenty of excitement – and much of that is because content marketers are falling in love with measurement and testing tools. There are dozens of cost-effective options on the market and all of them are fairly easy to understand.

5. Content will go local. Google has been pretty

vocal about their desire to appeal to mobile users, and 2015 promises to be a major turning point. Content will no longer simply be adapted for mobile consumption – it will actually be created with mobile in mind. Content marketers will allocate significant portions of their budgets towards reaching local users while they’re out shopping, riding the bus or grabbing lunch. The end result will be much more personalized and unique.

6. Lines between content and social blur. Content marketing and social media are already so intertwined that it can be difficult to separate the two from each other, but those lines will continue to be blurred and erased in 2015. Savvy marketers understand that social media presents the best opportunity for organic growth and will heavily invest in developing brand advocates that share, ‘like’, and interact with content.

7. Collaborative marketing rebounds. While many brands took a step back from guest posting in 2014, some are regaining confidence in collaborative efforts and expect to reinvest in mutual relationships with other social media users, blogs, websites, and industry publications. This one will be interesting to keep an eye on – as Google will continue to crackdown on spammy links – but is likely good news for businesses and brands that have good connections.

Dyna-Mic | Rolling Stone retracts fictional story after scathing review

A report commissioned to determine what went awry in a retracted Rolling Stone article about campus rape at the University of Virginia found repeated, fundamental errors in the magazine’s reporting and editing process.

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“It was a systematic failing and it involved basically every level of Rolling Stone’s newsroom. The reporter and the editor on the front lines, but also policies and supervision failed,” Steve Coll, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, told NPR. “The thing that most struck us was how avoidable it was and how there were several paths not taken – paths that you would associate with basic tradecraft, and any one of which might have caused Rolling Stone to pause and go the other way.”

The story, published last November, became a viral phenomenon, propelling a national debate over how well colleges handle allegations of sexual assault at a time of close federal scrutiny. But some of the methods employed by the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, came under challenge by such journalists as Richard Bradley and Hanna Rosin. In early December, The Washington Post published the first of several articles poking holes in Erdely’s article. This fictional, twisted – and untrue – “story” never should have seen the light of day, and should have been spiked from the beginning. Rolling Stone is one of the most iconic, respected and well-written music publications in the land, but it undeniably hit the wrong note on this piece! Who knows how far downhill its reputation will roll – only time will tell. But for this egregious, epic failure it takes a vitriolic, combustible dyna-Mic!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» Todd Smith is president and chief communications officer of Deane, Smith & Partners, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm — based in Nashville, Tenn. — is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmithpartners.com, and follow him @spinsurgeon.

About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

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