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TODD SMITH — Key shifts in social media strategy, new dictionary words emerge

Todd Smith

Todd Smith

Do you ever wonder how marketers and business owners are using social media to grow their business? Whether they are concerned about declining Facebook reach? What platforms and strategies they intend to invest their time in?

Wonder no more. Social Media Examiner has just released its annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report after surveying more than 2,800 marketers.

The one undeniable message from the report is that marketers continue to place high value on social media with 92 percent of marketers (up from 86 percent last year) indicating that social media was important for their business.

The report also revealed a number of shifts in focus, as marketers try to stand out from – and navigate – all the noise to get noticed and get results online.


Related: 7 Super Tips for Creating Powerful Infographics

Here are six key shifts in strategy that are highlighted by this year’s industry report:

1. A return to blogging: When asked how they will change their future social-media activities, blogging topped the charts with 68 percent of marketers planning to increase their efforts. Not since 2010 has blogging been the focus for increased activity for marketers, according to the report.

2. Facebook is losing its shine: The report indicates that we’re seeing the beginning of a decline in the use of Facebook by marketers, despite it remaining the most important social network overall. Seven percent of marketers plan to decrease their use of Facebook in 2014, and only 43 percent think their Facebook efforts are effective.

3. B2B vs. B2C requires a shift in focus: The report reveals interesting differences in the focus of B2B and B2C marketers. When it comes to B2C, Facebook dominates (with 68 percent of marketers choosing Facebook as their No. 1 choice of social platform) followed by YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn surpassed Facebook as the platform of choice, with blogging and Twitter also playing a more prominent role.


Related: As Social Media Becomes More Visual, a Tool for Analyzing Image Engagement

4. A greater fascination with Google+: Marketers want to learn most about Google+. “While 54 percent of marketers are using Google+, 65 percent want to learn more about it and 61 percent plan on increasing Google+ activities in 2014,” the report states.

5. Podcasting is on a growth trajectory: Although only 6 percent of marketers are involved with podcasting, 21 percent plan to increase their podcasting activities this year. This is more than a three-fold increase.

With 28 percent of marketers wanting to learn more about podcasting, this is a major shift in priorities and, according to Social Media Examiner is likely fuelled by:

» The global adoption of smartphones

» Introduction of Apple’s CarPlay (an in-car system to allow the playing of podcasts via car dashboards)

» Major auto manufacturers integrating dashboards with 3rd party apps.

6. Eyes are now on visual content: When it comes to content, visual assets top the list of content forms that marketers want to learn more about. Sixty-eight percent of marketers want to know about how to create original images and infographics, followed closely by an interest in learning how to produce original videos.

It is becoming harder to reach your ideal audience while they filter out the noise. As indicated in the report, clever marketers are considering a shift in their approach to reach consumers.

Whether this shift is to be flexible in the platforms you focus on, to include more visual content, or to embrace emerging mediums like podcasting, the end result is to provide quality content that catches the attention of consumers and provides them with value.


It’s Official – Hashtag, Selfie & Tweep Are New Dictionary Words

Hashtag, selfie, and tweep join over 150 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary in 2014, available now in print and online at Merriam-Webster.com. These new additions to America’s best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.

Crowdfunding joins big data and gamification, illustrating how technology is being used to understand and motivate behavior. A similar, if more playful, intersection of technology and human behavior can be seen in steampunk (“science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology”).

In the area of more intimate relationships, catfish, a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes. Catfish was popularized by the documentary and television series of the same name and by last year’s strange story of football player Manti Te’o’s nonexistent girlfriend.

“So many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods,” explains Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large for Merriam-Webster. “Tweep, selfie, and hashtag refer to the ways we communicate and share as individuals. Words like crowdfunding, gamification, and big data show that the Internet has changed business in profound ways.”

New culinary terms include pho (“a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles”), turducken (“a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey”), and the Canadian favorite poutine (“a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds”).

Other notable additions include freegan, fracking, and Yooper, a nickname used for a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Join the New Words conversation on Twitter using hashtag #MW2014NewWords.

Check out just a few of the new words added to this year’s update of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary, and their definitions:

1. big data  –  an accumulation of data that is too large and complex for processing by traditional database management tools.

2. catfish – a technology-related term, refers to a person who sets up a false social networking profile for deceptive purposes.

3. crowdfunding – the practice of soliciting financial contributions from a large number of people especially from the online community.

4. fracking – the injection of fluid into shale beds at high pressure in order to free up petroleum resources (such as oil or natural gas).

5. freegan – an activist who scavenges for free food (as in waste receptacles at stores and restaurants) as a means of reducing consumption of resources.

6. gamification – the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.

7. hashtag – a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).

8. pho – a soup made of beef or chicken broth and rice noodles.

9. poutine – a dish of French fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds.

10. selfie – an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.

11. social networking – the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online.

12. steampunk – science fiction dealing with 19th-century societies dominated by historical or imagined steam-powered technology

13. turducken – a boneless chicken stuffed into a boneless duck stuffed into a boneless turkey.

14. tweep – a person who uses the Twitter online message service to send and receive tweets.

15. Yooper – a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan —used as a nickname.


Smeared Mic | Jill Abramson vs. New York Times In PR War

There’s a big, dark cloud hovering over The Grey Lady in the wake of The New York Times’ grossly mishandled firing of its first female and longtime executive editor Jill Abramson. Both Abramson and the Times have been embroiled in a PR war since the announcement surfaced. Abramson was suddenly and unexpectantly pushed out of the top editorial role of The Times recently. Dean Baquet, who was managing editor, immediately took over the job, becoming the first African-American to lead the publication. Abramson was named executive editor in September 2011 and was the first woman to have run the paper’s editorial side.

A Times spokesperson said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the Times and chairman of The New York Times Company, was spurred by a desire to change how the newsroom was managed.  That’s the ultimate spin.

The vagueness of the announcement quickly fueled speculation over Abramson’s firing. Citing anonymous sources, the New Yorker reported that tensions between Sulzberger and Abramson rose when she discovered that she was being paid less than her male predecessor, Bill Keller. But the Times pushed back on that storyline, telling Politico that her total compensation was “not less than” Keller’s. Meanwhile, the Times itself reported that Abramson had been trying to hire an outsider to be Baquet’s co-managing editor. Over time, the world will discover what truly happened, but regardless, it was a poorly executed PR and crisis communications strategy. The Spin Cycle realizes it’s not wise to duke it out with an organization that buys ink by the barrel, but we must uphold fair and balanced journalistic integrity in a rapidly changing media landscape. For that, The New York Times gets a tarnished mic to put on the shelf next to its Pulitzers.

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.



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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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