The Perfect Tweet

Can one tweet be representative of how healthy a company is?

Netflix is garnering attention for a tweet this week...

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Here are the many reasons this is amazing marketing:

  1. They care about their metrics. The result of this always leads to better original programming because they know what their customers like.
  2. They have great internal communication. In order for this tweet to exist, their analytics team has to communicate in real-time with their social media team. Many large organizations struggle with this concept.
  3. They aren't afraid of humor. This is a funny and provocative tweet. This is something all companies should be doing to be more engaging, and since Netflix is an entertainment/media company, it suits them well.
  4. It reveals a fun company culture. It doesn't matter that I know people at Netflix that love working there. It's tweets like these that make it a much wider known fact to the public. This, in turn, creates more demand for them equating to better talent.
  5. Fun trolling = Engagement. It doesn't take an expert marketer to know when a company is creating a splash with their content. This is effortless content and it's very engaging. Its mystery makes customers want to call out their friends.

Well done, Netflix.

2 Billion Active Users

It's both impressive and scary at the same time. The power and growth that Facebook has accumulated over the past several years are unprecedented. 

To celebrate, Facebook continues to innovate on new features and ideas. Their most recent development is called "Good Adds Up." 

Let's see how much larger Facebook will become over the next few years. With China potentially opening up and a wider internet adoption taking place, the sky is truly the limit for them at this point. 

Opening Day Pitch

This is a pretty disappointing picture for most of us.

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Although it's great to see the troops out there like that, this picture symbolizes the fracture of a century-long tradition. That tradition is having the President throw out the first pitch of Major League Baseball's Opening Day. 

President Taft did it in 1910. 

Obama did it in 2010.

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But the current President unfortunately had "other plans." 

Perhaps the one he threw in Boston back in 2006 was enough for him to ruin a beloved tradition like this.

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5 Lessons Learned About Translating Social Media Posts

As brands globalize online and begin penetrating new customers abroad, they are faced with the immediate struggles of scaling a local market team. While doing so can be difficult in general, personalizing the brand while keeping the company culture can be extremely difficult. 

Here are some reasons why you can't take such a large initiative too lightly.

LESSON 1: YOU CAN'T JUST MACHINE TRANSLATE YOUR ENGLISH POSTS

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Philip Neville automatically translates his tweets from English to Spanish. The unacceptable and embarrassing result can be found in the comment above. 

LESSON 2: GO WHERE THE MARKET IS

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Additional in-market effort is unavoidable when you consider the many different social networks that are specific to any given market. Take China for example (data shown above). Your current social media team may not be able to navigate these sites - and they are what is essential for success in the market. 

LESSON 3: PLAN GLOBAL CONTENT AHEAD OF TIME

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When decision makers at a global company only can understand marketing content in one single language, it becomes imperative for them to know what is happening ahead of time. Us social media marketers are usually trained to work in the opposite way; quickly. For global content outside of a main region, it's best to tiptoe into it and plan out the strategy well in advance to ensure all stakeholders agree with the content and the culture being built in the new markets. 

LESSON 4: DON'T JUST CHOOSE ANY NATIVE SPEAKER

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Just like how you did your due diligence to hire marketers in your primary market, the same type of process should be adapted to fill the chairs in secondary target markets. All too often, companies rely on solely a referral from someone on the team that knows a native speaker. Proceed with caution in these cases. Just because someone knows a language, does not mean they understand customer engagement and content marketing as a whole.

LESSON 5: DON'T MIX REGIONAL MARKETING MESSAGES

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Delta felt this firsthand. As an airline that operates globally, they should accommodate all customers in all languages at all times. In the controversial tweet above, the company tweeted a World Cup reference to Ghana without doing the necessary research needed to know that there are no giraffes in the country of Ghana. Not only does a snafu such as this turn off the entire country of Ghana, but even their English-speaking followers around the world will doubt their knowledge of the markets to which they fly. 

No More Social Engineering

Google and Facebook have been in the news this year for suppressing certain content that suggests the entities have biases in place. Well, this isn't a new concept at all - and it certainly doesn't mean these companies have done anything wrong. 

At the end of the day, online platforms are tasked with the daunting task of leveraging technology to ensure users get the best experience using their product(s). That's tough to achieve all across the board. 

Social engineering has been talked about so much this year that I even referenced some amazing articles I've come across recently. It's not going to stop.... 

...but as for malicious persuasion, these same companies are stepping up and thwarting the rulebreakers.

Yesterday, on the Google blog, the company announced that they will now display an interstitial warning to users that are about to access a website that have been flagged for deceiving users in some way. 

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Surprisingly, the criteria for earning these flags is rather obtuse. If your site is flagged, you will undoubtedly be notified via Google Webmaster Tools. However, the reasons may not be cited. 

To serve as examples, I've pasted some of the dangerous examples of flagged social engineering. If your website is doing any of these things, I'd expect to see some notifications from Google soon.

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The Google blog post can be found here

 

Facebook vs. Snapchat

Facebook acquired MSQRD back in March. Ever since, I've been itching to find out how they'd use the AR-based Snapchat competitor. 

Today, my curiosity can be put to rest. 

Facebook Live now offers MSQRD's filters.

The addition seems to be two-fold. You can go live directly on Facebook's app, or use your MSQRD app, which will ask you to connect to Facebook live. 

The question now becomes - Do users prefer a wider public audience or is ephemeral messaging what will continue to propel Snapchat to the top?

When you think of the ecosystems, I think Facebook's biggest advantage is also it's biggest disadvantage. The younger generation is preferring to not have their posts stored and saved for public viewing. If this continues to be the case, MSQRD may only be adopted by those paid content producing celebrities that are being asked to leverage Facebook Live. 

Either way, this is an interesting convergence of technologies for so many reasons:

  • It brings augmented reality more to the masses
  • Live streaming is now an acceptable method of communication/marketing
  • Privacy continues to be a major polarization factor for users

Two things can happen from here:

  1. Facebook offers ephemeral messaging AND figures out a way to lure in the younger generation
  2. Snapchat continues to build out its framework to allow for more public viewing and an open communications platform.

I can't wait to see what happens from here. 

A Single Language Facebook

Facebook already offers brands the ability to market a Global Business Page, but not many people truly know what that even means. Let alone do they even have access to create one. 

But much like what Google has been able to accomplish with Google Translate, Facebook has been working on crowdsourcing translation within their own ecosystem so that they can allow every user to engage with every piece of content.

Sounds ambitious.

But if any company can do it, Facebook would be atop that list.

The new status update feature allows a user to compose message in multiple languages. Clicking a button will apply machine translation with the added ability to take what was generated and add your own content in-language (if the user is bi-lingual, of course). 

The video below overviews what the experience looks like. 

It's important to note that Facebook has already mentioned that this rollout is not going to be solely for business pages. Regular users will also have this button enabled. 

This means that social communication of all kinds will be expanded so that any and everybody can understand the context posted on Facebook (with FB's machine translation accuracy being the delta in the equation). 

It will be interesting to see how Facebook scales this functionality. I'd expect to see this in WhatsApp and Messenger soon. As for virtual reality, we'll find out if they can figure out a way to capture voice recognition and apply the same types of machine translation automatically to it. 

The sky is truly the limit for Facebook's rapid innovation. 

Hearing Tests

My wife is constantly complaining about my terrible hearing. I've always had a good excuse since I grew up a drummer listening to extremely loud music. There is no question I've lost some of my hearing from that.

But she claims it's getting worse. She says this even after I tell her I just got it tested a few years ago. 

Today is her lucky day for I have found a solution for both of us. 

Enter Mimi.

Mimi is a mobile app that guides you through a free hearing test. 

I'll spare you the results of my test, but let's just say, my wife can no longer complain about what I don't hear. I can now tell her that it must be that she is mumbling too much. 

You can download the free Mimi app at the link below:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mimi-hearing-test/id932496645?mt=8

Targeting Emojis with Advertising

Twitter just changed the advertising game by announcing that advertisers can target tweets that feature emojis. 

We certainly do live in a different world today. 

Here are some examples of how it works:

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Burger joints can target users that probably enjoy hamburgers. This applies to all types of food emojis, of course.

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Jewelers might see an opportunity jumping into a conversation about buying a ring, or wedding planners can target couples that used the emoji after getting engaged.

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How perfect is the hot beverage emoji for a company like Starbucks? Offer a coffee drinker a discount the next time they're in, simply because they obviously share those moments that they do enjoy a warm beverage - even while at a competitor's shop. 

You can also target by emotion and sentiment. This would obviously not be as focused, but it could still work well for certain types of companies selling emotionally-driven products/services.

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I can't wait to experiment with this more and document the results. I also look forward to seeing how other advertising networks might piggyback off of this concept. 

Field of Vision: Paying for Likes

Here's a little video for Transparent Thursdays. 

This sort of "buying" economy for social media acceptance is real. It's been happening for years. Everybody seems to know it's wrong, yet companies continue to invest in this type of practice?  

What drives us to participate in this economy? Implied popularity? A celebrity-esque facade? 

Regardless, it's interesting to see the perspective from the other side of this market. 

Facebook's Automated Messaging

First of all, did you know you have a hidden inbox on Facebook? 

Try this:

  1. Click on messages on your desktop
  2. You'll see Recent and Message Requests at the top of the drop-down.
  3. Click on Message Requests
  4. You may or may not see some messages on this pane.
  5. Either way, click on "See Filtered Requests."
  6. Upon clicking that, you will see your hidden inbox.

Yes, the majority of these messages are spam, but not all of them. I don't know why Facebook has decided to hide these messages and detach them from the default inbox, but it's a little inconvenient. I had actual messages I would have wanted to respond to from 4+ years ago. 

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This is a huge fail for Facebook, which is a company whose mission is to connect people. 

In other Facebook messaging news, bots are all the rage now. Not only am I enjoying receiving automated digests from companies and publications I follow on a daily basis, but the ability to automate messaging as a business via the page is a major timesaver. 

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You can now configure your messaging settings in your page's dashboard. Instant Replies is the big feature here since you can now automate responses to heighten customer service. 

Another cool feature is the ability to display a default message even before a customer sends you their first question or message. This is perfect real estate for a promotion, offer, or pertinent information for new customers. 

All of this, alongside the development of bots, has made Facebook messaging a force to be reckoned with.

Will moves such as these take us farther away from email? 

Only time will tell us "WhatsApp" with all of this. 

Twitter Still Matters

Twitter won't go away any time soon. Instead, it's figuring out ways to embed itself deeper into your daily activity. 

The next leap?.... Event streaming.

This is not just a move for business relevancy, but it's a strategic advancement to compete for attention. Online platforms are media outlets - and Twitter has always been the easiest tool to use. If Twitter can successfully host many live events, it can continue to build on its core mission while inventing new revenue streams. 

What is Twitter's core mission? 

Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Facebook's Call Now Button

Facebook has slowly been rolling out features to win small businesses over again. After experiencing some negative feedback on the difficulties caused by a lack of follower engagement, which Facebook makes businesses pay for now, Facebook still has some tricks up their sleeves - and continues to play the long game. 

Most recently, Facebook has given business pages a Call-To-Action button. By default, this is a "Call Now" button, but it can be customized to accommodate most relevant actions. 

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What's the strategy for Facebook here?

They want to make the Facebook page sexy again. From a business standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. If Facebook's Ad platform continues to be a cost-effective way to target customers, driving ad traffic to Facebook pages keeps all users inside the single ecosystem, which in turn, allows Facebook to be a full-service platform for everybody. 

We'll see if advertisers will be given a discount to direct traffic to these new CTA's. If I were Facebook, I'd be publishing case studies, and offering promotions to get businesses in the door with this concept. 

There's no doubt that this can work. The next obstacle for Facebook will be making sure they effectively track the return on investment for these businesses so that they can help guide their ad dollars toward the right demographics. This will come with more visibility to user engagement and the fluctuation of ad prices on the platform. 

I can't wait to see where Facebook takes their business platform in the future. Rumor has it, they're making an email killer slated for launch next year. 

As Featured in LIFE Magazine

When Life Magazine asked me to talk about my family, I was happy to boast about the following: "I've fallen in love all over again. This time it's with Stacy, the mother. This is, by far, the most amazing version of her yet. I can honestly say I've never loved her more than I do right now."

"Becoming a parent makes everything in life feel less significant. It immediately becomes second nature to put yourself behind the needs of your children."

"A friend once described his child as a living breathing extension of his own heart. Now we know exactly what he meant by that."

You can pick up the February issue now.

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Facebook Global Pages

If you're a multinational big spending business on Facebook, you can take advantage of a little known feature called a "Global Page." Unfortunately, the rumor is that you need to spend well into 5 figures on Facebook ads per month in order to qualify, but isn't that to be expected with cool features early on? 

Now, global pages aren't actually new. They've been around for a few years now. But like I said, not many people know about them. And why would they if they:

  • aren't spending a ton of money with Facebook
  • don't offer content to any users outside of the U.S.
  • visit Facebook pages in other languages
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How Do Global Pages Work?

The beauty of a Global Page is the control you have over their function. Within a dashboard, you can set the criteria which dictate how global Facebook users engage with your brand's page. Most generally, there are three types of Pages in the Global Pages structure:

  • Market Pages: You can have as many market Pages as you want. You can customize who gets redirected to which Page, according to where they live and which language they speak.

  • Default Page: This is the default page where a fan will be redirected if they do not meet any of the criteria you set for your market Pages. This Page also acts as the main URL for your Page structure (e.g. www. facebook.com/brand). When people navigate to the default Page’s web address, they’ll then be redirected to the appropriate Page (market Page or default Page).

  • Root Page: The root Page is invisible and overlooks the whole structure. The root Page gives you insights for all of your Global Pages. Admins of the root Page can also manage the Global Page structure at the targeting level, such as:
    • Add and remove countries

    • Add and remove languages

What's the User Experience Like?

In order to experience what these global pages look like, I navigated to Facebook's own "Facebook for Business" page. As you'd expect, they have regional pages for just about every country on Earth. 

I started out on the U.S. default page.

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From there, I navigated over to the "..." (more options) button. This is where you'll find a "Switch Region" option. 

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In the dropdown menu is where you'll find all of the many market options the page offers to its audiences. Of course, what I'm doing is manually overriding my experience, but by default, I'd normally be automatically shown the U.S. page. 

Someone in Chile, however, would be shown the Chilean page (as shown below).

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Once the regional setting is changed, it's important to note that the page URL does, in fact, change. It's a completely different page altogether. However, they are pages that are verified and claimed by the master admin for the "Facebook for Business" root page. 

I continued my research. On to Chinese next.

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What's most interesting about this offering is that Facebook isn't even available in China. The settings for this page is, therefore, probably configured to detect any users that have Chinese set as their preferred language within Facebook.

Finally, what about a European country? How about Netherlands?

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As you can see, the master U.S. page's posts get translated into Dutch here. Bilingual users that don't think the machine translation is up to par can click on "See Translation" at the bottom of the post in order to read it in its origin form - in English in this case. 

In Conclusion

Facebook's Global Pages are a fantastic feature for socially active global brands that want to ensure they have a destination online for Facebook users worldwide. That said, Facebook has an opportunity to make many improvements - including but not limited to:

  • Machine translation improvements
  • Notifying users of the root page (when regional page is most relevant)
  • Allow users to choose the page when multiple languages are spoken
  • Decipher between market and language. You shouldn't be able to pick and choose. 
  • Better crowdsource page improvements. Ask users for more input on the UX

Despite my criticisms, Facebook is far beyond the competition when it comes to supporting corporate globalization. I fully expect them to evolve this offering and roll it out to the many smaller businesses that offer an online experience in multiple languages. 

Facebook Reactions

Facebook may not have wanted a dislike button, but they apparently did desire change. Despite the "like" symbol being somewhat of a brand symbol for Facebook, they are doing away with just the like button.

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Coming soon, Facebook will be introducing "Reactions." Reactions is essentially a toolbar with a broader selection of emotions to choose from. Zuckerberg himself stressed the reasoning behind the change at an event recently:

“Not every moment is a good moment - if you share something that's sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post… I do think it's important to give people more options than liking it." 

The belief is that the reactions toolset will allow users to engage more often with posts. Offering an emotion that better matches the sentiment of a message lends itself to a greater chance at an emotional connection.

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Below is an example of what it will look like in the wild - more specifically, on the mobile app:

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These updates align perfectly with the increase in emoji usage. Instagram recently reported on this growth with an eye-opening graph displaying the upward trend over time.

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This observation immediately leaps my mind into the interesting opportunity of allowing emojis in URLs, but I will save that topic for another time. 

For us marketers, the advent of Facebook Reactions gives us even more insights into user behavior. As shown below, we will now be able to track each button click, which will then be tallied into total sentiments of your messaging. 

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By adapting your messaging to the results you are seeing, you can better craft your posts to match your audience's behavior and expectations. 

All in all, this will be an interesting change for the Facebook experience. I expect an initial backlash from users, much like any other time something that isn't broken is changed, but that storm will pass quickly. Within a few months, the Reactions UX will become second nature, and more interestingly, we'll undoubtedly see other websites following suit in some way. 

Here's to many Yay's, Love's, and Wow's for you and your content! 

Oscar Predictions

Every year, I gather with friends and family to see who can predict the most winners for the Oscars. I'm a film buff, so it's fun to see how your opinions might match those of the presumed experts giving out the awards. 

This year was a great one for film. It makes selecting winners that much harder. 

I probably have a layer of biases embedded into my selections below, but that's just because a few of my favorite movies of the year were nominated and I tend to hope they'll pull it out.

That said, see my bolded selections below for each category, and don't forget to see these movies at some point. 

Best Original Song

“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

Best Cinematography

Ed Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Roger Deakins, Sicario

Best Documentary Short

Body Team 12
Chau, Beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Best Documentary Feature

Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Best Live-Action Short

Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

Best Animated Short

Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa
Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Film Editing

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Adapted Screenplay

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donoghue, Room

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Pete Docter, Megg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, Inside Out
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, Straight Outta Compton

Best Original Score

Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell, Carol
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhansson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Foreign Language Film

Colombia: Embrace of the Serpent
France: Mustang
Hungary: Son of Saul
Jordan: Theeb
Denmark: A War

Best Director

Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight