Cover


 
DIGITAL ESSENTIALS

June 2015

 
 

Welcome

 

Let’s talk.

Good digital marketing isn’t just outgoing messaging; it’s a dialogue between brands and audiences. This month’s edition of PNConnect Digital Essentials is chock full of good conversation. Our Feature shares advice from LinkedIn executives about shaping brand voice and engaging employees as company advocates. This month’s Digital Guide offers best practices for live-streaming, while our Case Study profiles how the Disney Parks Blog created interactive quizzes to engage fans in a new way. The latest On Workflow spotlights Project Manager and agile “work nomad” Jennifer Laker. We’re also debuting something new: In Conversation Topics, two PNConnectors swap reactions to recent industry news. All this plus stats, the latest news in social media and digital advertising, and more.


Cover and welcome photos: MIT Robotics Lab’s Cheetah and the Aero DRC from Tokyo
demonstrate their skills at the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
Social Stats
Social Networking Stats

 What’s Trending

Facebook Starts Hosting Publishers’ Instant Articles
“After months of rumors, Facebook today unveiled ‘Instant Articles,’ a program that natively hosts publishers’ content in its app’s News Feed so users don’t have to click out and wait for websites to load. Instant Articles debuts today with rich-media stories from The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, and six other outlets that will be globally visible from Facebook’s iPhone app.”
Source: TechCrunch

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Facebook is framing Instant Articles as a fix for slow article load times, but looking at the big picture, the feature appears to be an aggressive claim on new ground in the shifting digital publishing landscape. Facebook stands to increase audience retention by keeping readers on its platform, and publishers stand to recapture readers who’ve turned to social for news. However, while participating publishers may enjoy initial traffic gains, they run the risk of over-reliance on the platform, and they give up full control over ad revenue, long-term audience retention, and performance metrics.

Global Trend

WeChat Grows to 549M Monthly Active Users
“Tencent revealed today that its messaging app WeChat now has 549 million monthly active users (MAUs). Once again, Tencent did not provide a geographic breakdown of where WeChat users are based, so it’s hard to discern if the service has made any impact beyond China.”
Source: Tech in Asia

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
WeChat has evolved into a jack-of-all-trades, where users can play games, buy plane tickets, hail a cab and stream media channels, among other things, all within the app. A huge contender in China’s online entertainment space and a prime example of the proliferation of mobile chat multi-functionality, WeChat is an increasingly vital platform for engaging Chinese audiences.


Worldwide
FACEBOOK
Daily Active Users: 936,000,000
Daily Mobile Active Users: 798,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 1,440,000,000
Monthly Mobile Active Users: 1,250,000,000

TWITTER
Monthly Active Users: 302,000,000

LINKEDIN
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 42,675,000
Registered U.S. Members: 115,000,000
Registered Members: 364,000,000

INSTAGRAM
Monthly Active Users: 300,000,000

TUMBLR
Blogs: 237,200,000
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 41,100,000

PINTEREST
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 52,600,000

SLIDESHARE
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 5,100,000
Monthly Unique Visitors: 60,000,000

YOUTUBE
Monthly U.S. Visitors: 163,720,000
Monthly Unique Users: 1,000,000,000

GOOGLE+
Monthly Active Users: 375,000,000

WHATSAPP
Monthly Active Users: 800,000,000
Daily Messages Sent: 30,000,000,000

SNAPCHAT
Monthly Active Users: 100,000,000

RUSSIA
VK
Registered Users: 306,000,000
Daily Active Users: 66,400,000

Odnoklassniki
Monthly Active Users: 38,800,000


CHINA
RenRen
Registered Users: 225,000,000

Weibo
Monthly Active Users: 198,000,000
Daily Active Users: 89,000,000

Qzone
Monthly Active Users: 668,000,000
Mobile Monthly Active Users: 568,000,000

WeChat
Registered Users: 1,100,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 549,000,000


JAPAN
Mixi
Monthly Active Users: 27,100,000

Line
Registered Users: 600,000,000
Monthly Active Users: 205,000,000
Daily Messages Sent: 13,000,000,000

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising Trends

 

YouTube Adds Click-to-Shop Button
to TrueView Ads

“YouTube is tweaking its commercials to be more like interactive infomercials. A month after YouTube added interactive cards to its skippable TrueView ads, retail advertisers can now use those card overlays to include product information, images and links to purchase a product on a brand’s site. They can also use these ads to remarket to people who may have checked out a product on a brand’s site without checking out.”
Source: Ad Age

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
A general rule of thumb is each extra step between awareness and purchase decreases the chance of a potential customer taking action. By enabling viewers to make a purchase at the moment, YouTube is removing a tremendous amount of friction from the buying process. Brands with consumer-facing products, particularly anything recently in the news, should consider using this feature in video ads.


 



Pinterest Unveils “Buyable Pins”

“Brands like Macy’s, Kate Spade, Cole Haan, Nordstrom and Ethan Allen will soon offer Pinterest posts with buy buttons, and users can search the site based on what products interest them and in what price range. The shoppable pins have been expected for some time, and they are in demand for retailers because of Pinterest’s ability to capture consumer intent… Pinterest will not take a sales cut or charge a fee for the buttons.”
Source: Adweek

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
This is another great case of a platform closing the gap between “purchase intent” and “actual purchase.” For many online shoppers, Pinterest sits right at the end of the sales funnel, so the implications are big. Buyable Pins are currently restricted to certain brands, but again, if your business sells retail products, now is the time to start getting ready for a broader rollout by creating or building up your Pinterest presence.

Instagram’s Ads Open to Everyone

“Instagram’s ads and ad-buying process are becoming more on par with those of its parent company Facebook. For example, by the end of this year a retailer would be able to set up an Instagram ad targeted to its existing customers that includes a link to the retailer’s e-commerce site and run the ad without calling up an Instagram sales rep — just like it would for a Facebook ad.”
Source: Ad Age

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Up until now, Instagram has carefully selected its advertisers and screened their promotions; soon, Instagram ads will be available to all businesses. And with a simplified buying process and new targeting tools, the barrier to entry is a lot lower for brands with direct-response strategies or smaller budgets. Just like Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising has potential as a tool for any brand with an ad budget and a compelling call to action.


Noteworthy News

 

The Science Behind the Perfect Twitter Hashtag

“To understand more about the science behind the optimal Twitter hashtag for reality TV programs, our team sifted through a half-season’s worth of content: more than 350 hashtags across eight primetime reality shows in the United States from January to July 2014. The pro tips we unpacked from the research are rather straightforward, but the benefits are substantial (and statistically significant).”
Source: Twitter Blog

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
While Twitter based its research on reality TV, the resulting insights apply to brands, too: Include your brand name or some other key identifier, limit yourself to 15-17 characters (short enough to fit, long enough to convey something meaningful), and, when possible, give people a chance to express an affinity with “team” hashtags. If you’re encouraging others to adopt a hashtag, keep in mind not just what’s handy for your brand but also what’s useful and fun for followers.


 
 


 
 
 
 

Top Brands’ Facebook Engagement Surges
Year Over Year

“Total Facebook engagement for the top global brands has surged 43.5% in the last year, Simply Measured reported today in its Facebook 2015 Industry Report that tracks Facebook activity by the Interbrand 100. And the increase has come despite brands making 5% fewer posts in the last three months compared to the same months in 2014.”
Source: Marketing Land

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
With Facebook constantly tweaking its algorithms and cutting into brands’ reach, top brands have been forced to get smarter about what they post. The decision to cut down on quantity and focus on improving updates’ quality has turned out to be a win for both users and brands: Followers are seeing more engaging content, and brands are still able to get good results on Facebook by investing a bit more thought into their posts.

Brands Should Beware the Legal Hazards of Flirting With Celebs on Social Media

“At last year’s Grammys, the Twitterverse gushed over Arby’s tweet at Pharrell, asking for the brand’s hat back. Pharrell…took it in stride, but he could have easily sued. And won. … It’s important for brands to remember that just because they are using the same tools as publishers, that doesn’t make them publishers. And they are not granted the same permissions that publishers receive as journalists.”
Source: Adweek

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
Real-time marketing can be a fun addition to a program, as long as it’s clever, original, and aligned with content strategy goals. However, the recent fad of brands hijacking celebrity news stories comes with serious legal risk. Skip borrowing a celebrity’s popularity and focus on building your own instead.



 
 

Delta Scores with Meme-Saturated Safety Video

“Delta collected every last internet meme and stuffed them all into its latest in-flight safety video. The video, which has climbed to 1.9 million views on YouTube (and 200,000 in the time it took to write this article), is stuffed with internet goodness. Everything from Overly Attached Girlfriend to Screaming Goat to Dramatic Chipmunk to Annoying Orange to Evolution of Dance to Harlem Shake to Coke Mentos to the Will It Blend Guy and a whole lot more is crammed into the 6 minute video.”
Source: Marketing Land

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
An airline safety video is an unlikely viral hit, but Delta used this mandatory protocol as an opportunity to win over audiences. The internet community — which, after all, is the same as the offline community — loves in-jokes and generally reacts positively when a company can let down its hair, as long as the contribution is informed and authentic. As always, moderation is key, but a bit of irreverence and inclusiveness can do wonders for a brand, especially if it has a reputation for being stuffy or aloof.

 

 

“Five years from today, I think it will be very common for people in all professions to use data in all parts of their jobs … [and] it will be commonplace that you have tools, as common as Word, that help you interrogate data and explore your curiosities.”

Christian Chabot, CEO of data visualization company Tableau

Feature

Lessons from LinkedIn CommsConnect

In May, LinkedIn (a Porter Novelli client) hosted LinkedIn CommsConnect, a discussion on the value of employee voices, executive writing, and starting conversations. PNConnect’s Andy Stoltzfus shares key takeaways.



On Executives and Writing

When an executive posts personal thoughts and insights on social media, it can have a powerful effect — especially when it’s genuine. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner noted that ghostwriting is obvious to readers and can undermine your message. Executives (and companies, for that matter) need to use their own voice — they can’t allow others to define their story. Activating employee voices is key as well.

The discussion touched on what to write about as well. Weiner recommended focusing on topics where (1) the subject matter means something to you, and (2) you can add something valuable to the conversation.

Leaders need to feel comfortable saying externally what they’re saying internally. It may seem counter-intuitive, but transparency is key to controlling a story. Simply put, when leaders don’t frame their company’s key issues themselves, others will.

An effective routine is also important. Weiner writes a post every other weekend, early in the morning, before his kids wake up. Most posts are on topics he’s passionate about, and that helps the posts write themselves. Today, he writes and edits a first draft of each post in as little as 20 minutes.

Photo courtesy of LinkedInLinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner


On Starting a Conversation
 
With so much noise in the social media space — including on LinkedIn’s own publishing channel — it’s important for brand and individual publishers to start conversations, rather than simply broadcast their own messages.

Roth shared several useful recommendations:

    1. Do something unexpected.
    2. Be quasi-controversial (not bland)
    3. Tie into current/relevant external conversations (leverage context).
    4. Bring a unique and unexpected perspective.
    5. Scrap the official message (see Points 1-4).
    6. Find a niche. Be a boutique.

Photo courtesy of LinkedInCrisis management expert Judy Smith
and LinkedIn Executive Editor Dan Roth

Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

On Engaging Different Audiences
on Different Channels

Weiner and Dan Roth, LinkedIn’s executive editor, discussed lessons learned from the announcement of LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of lynda.com. In conjunction with a corporate blog post targeted to users and a press release targeted to investors, Weiner and lynda.com’s co-founder, Lynda Weinman, both published corresponding executive posts to LinkedIn. Between these posts and press coverage in mass and niche media outlets, the team spread the news far beyond the reach of the corporate blog or press release.

Including the executive LinkedIn posts in the core announcement gave journalists an important valuable resource. In fact, press coverage quoted these posts more than any other source. Publishing central, high-profile statements saved executives’ time, ensured the quotes were on-message, and extended the humanized voice of both leaders.

“Companies who discover and amplify their employees’ voices — just as much as their customers’ voices — are going to be the ones with the largest and most impactful voice.”
— LinkedIn executive editor Dan Roth
 
On Amplifying Employee Voices

According to Roth, a former Fortune writer, reporters are likely to shut out corporate pitches and look directly to employees and users. They want to get the real story, not the official version.

Roth noted four key questions to keep in mind when identifying potential employee thought leaders:

    1. Are they already speaking externally (officially or unofficially)?
    2. Are they experts on a particular topic?
    3. Are they active content creators (officially or unofficially)?
    4. Do they have significant existing reach and profile views?

Weiner underscored the point that the authenticity, vision, and humanity that comes from employees publishing content almost always resonates more than official comments. That’s why encouraging employees to share and write on their own is such a valuable element of a brand publishing program.

 




“If you’re following me around and scraping my data, you should be serving me better ads. And even if ‘straight guy between ages of 18 and 55 who plays games on his phone’ does fit your profile for ‘Game of War,’ it shouldn’t take three months to figure out that I’m never going to click through, no matter how many times you show me Kate Upton.”

– Ken Wheaton for Ad Age on the shortcomings of digital ad targeting
On Workflow: Jennifer Laker

Confessions of a Work Nomad

In our continuing “On Workflow” series, we hear how Connectors and clients tackle their day and get things done. This month, we talk to Jennifer Laker, Senior Project Manager at PNConnect.

What are your essential apps
and tools?

The tools that I find most valuable allow me to collaborate with co-workers and clients efficiently and in real time:

  • Slack – For culture-building and immediate feedback/collaboration.
  • Google Docs – Real-time collaboration in documents, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Adium – IM/chat aggregation (although Slack has Direct Message capability).
  • Task Paper – For personal note taking and task management. I set up each day separately in Task Paper and then create daily to-do’s from there. I’ve also personalized the Bullet Journal system as a way to keep notes and manage tasks in a lightweight, simple format.
  • Spotify – A girl needs her jams! I also like to lurk and see what my coworkers and friends are jamming out to. Disclaimer: If you choose to follow me, remember this is a judgment-free zone.

Tell us about your office setup.

I’m kind of a work nomad, which I’m pretty proud of, because I can work from anywhere as long as I have an outlet and WiFi.

At our Winter Haven office we have an open office plan and are dog-friendly. So, I work from a long table with the rest of the Platforms Team and sometimes both mine and my co-workers’ dogs. This setup lends itself to collaboration, communication, and the occasional office prank. Plus, dogs remind you to keep things in perspective and be happy with the simple things, which can be a lifesaver on stressful days.

At home I work from my dining room table or our home office, depending on how pretty the view is or how vocal my dog, She-ra, is being on any given day. I sit half of the day and stand the other half.

What’s the secret to efficient, productive meetings?

  • Send an agenda. If you don’t have one, you’re not “meeting-ready” yet.
  • While making the agenda, ask yourself, is this something that can be handled via email? If so, try that first.
  • Ask attendees for their availability prior to sending an invite. I feel it’s presumptuous to send the invite first, and it sends the message that you’re not respecting attendees’ time. Asking first saves you time too, because you don’t have to re-coordinate timing when your guests inevitably have scheduling conflicts.
  • Take notes, and after the meeting, send a recap with clear action items and next steps.

What work problem have you recently solved?

During our most recent process review, our team expressed that they were having issues with too many calls and not enough time for actual work. We consolidated calls to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and carved out explicit time for work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which has proven to be quite effective. We still take calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we need to. However, this has made us more productive and has cut down on time lost starting and stopping work between calls.


What work habit do you have that everybody else thinks is crazy?

Definitely what I call “The Kickoff First Date.” Let’s face it, conference calls are awkward. The first call with the whole team can be really, really awkward, especially if you haven’t had the chance to meet face-to-face. I’m all about breaking the ice by doing a Meet the Teams portion on kickoffs, especially ones where we are working remotely with the client. We introduce ourselves and share where we are located, what our role is, and a fun fact. It helps us remember that we are all people first and not just voices on the other end of the line. We get to learn some pretty great things about our clients and each other and it builds a healthy rapport.

What are your rules for work/life balance?

Honestly, I’m still working on this. However I try to stick to the following:

  • When I’m interacting with someone, I give them my full attention, and I don’t check my phone while in their company.
  • I rarely work on the weekends.
  • On days when I take PTO, I arrange for support/coverage from our amazing project leads and my direct report so I can fully unplug.
  • I eat dinner every night with my partner-in-crime, albeit sometimes a little late.
  • Don’t try to walk your dog and check work emails concurrently, because you will butt-dial a co-worker and they will hear your encouraging words meant for your pooch. (Thank you to the lovely Crystal Cooper from our Atlanta office for handling this gracefully!)


What’s your morning routine?

At the end of each day, I review what calls I have the next day and note them in Task Paper under “Calls.” Then I list the agendas and recaps that need to be created and sent under “Emails.” In the morning, I review the list of emails that need to go out before noon and new emails that have come in overnight. I prioritize my tasks in Task Paper, and if there’s time before my first call, I check a few of my favorite sites: The Digital Project Manager, Every Day DPM, Kickass PM or A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. In particular, I try to read something new on Hacker News every few days. Then I go ask a developer or designer all about it.


How do you push through team workflow blockages?

This team is great about addressing process problems. We have a three-step approach:

  • Identification: We have weekly stand-ups with the group as a whole, regular regroups with project leads, and other opportunities to step back and review workflow.
  • Analyze: Our team puts a high value on efficiency. We’re often early adopters of new technology, and our developers have the skills to adapt many of our current workflow tools to our needs, so blockages are voiced quickly and the team brainstorms together on ways to break through.
  • Remedy: With open minds and a waste-no-time attitude, the team works quickly to obtain new info on a solution ASAP. We weigh pros and cons together and implement the solution.

Tell us about a current project you’re excited about.

The Pioneer Woman

We are lucky to have some amazing clients who do some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Right now we’re working on some pretty great stuff with The Pioneer Woman. Ree is her brand. She knows exactly what she wants (while still remaining open to new ideas) and who her users are. She even geeks out with us on some of the more technical aspects of the project. It’s a unique and rewarding experience to work with a client who lives and creates her own content, tirelessly works to exceed users’ expectations, and views incoming project communication as “Christmas gifts.” I mean hello! I get to work with gifted and passionate developers, designers, and clients. What more could a project manager ask for?

Conversation Topics

Instagram Emoji and the
Importance of Voice

Sometimes the best insights come about through dialogue. In this first installment of “Conversation Topics,” PN’s Mary Gaulke and Chris Thilk swap reactions to a recent digital news story.




CT
Mary – Jeremy Harrington flagged this story about how Instagram engineers were working to parse out the meaning behind emoji used in captions. My first thought on this “emoji decryption” story is that it’s not so much giving up on grammar as replacing it. There’s a whole new language with its own grammar rules that’s emerging and existing in parallel to more typical writing. So efforts like what the Instagram team describe here are being undertaken to assign meaning to that. And because there’s too much data out there for any team of humans to sift through, the machines need this sort of equivalency in order to analyze it with any level of accuracy. Still, errors are to be expected: even machine-based text analysis isn’t perfect in unearthing sentiment and nuance.

Agreed, I find the evolution of language online really interesting. Tumblr is another community where you see standards, slang, and connotations evolving really quickly. For instance, here’s a surprisingly compelling analysis of “u” vs. “you”: “‘u’ – as a single letter – feels diminutive, casual, and cute, in comparison to the full word ‘you.’”

But let’s get to the most important question of all: do brands have a place in any of this? As an official Millennial™, I usually find it condescending and try-hardy when brands start using emoji, like with that bizarre racist tweet that got Clorox in trouble.



MG



CT
You’re a Millennial? I’m at least six years too old to fit into that group. Can you get me into that hot new club I’ve been hearing about?

It always comes down to “brand voice” for me. So if using emojis and slang verbiage (saying your all-night diner is “on fleek” is, apparently, on fleek) fits in with the image you A) have or B) want to have, then it can make sense. It’s not like flipping a switch, though. You can’t go from “serious marketing” to “lulz with u 2nite at the hizzy” voice overnight. You need to evaluate the transition throughout the process to make sure you’re actually engaging more people and not turning them off.

Wait, sorry, did you ask me something? I was busy Snapchatting. Can I have a trophy for writing this yet?

I’m with you on organic brand voice being the most critical factor. As you referenced, Denny’s has now spent years assimilating to youth-driven internet culture, committing to esoteric memes and weird in-jokes with the best of them. (Although, surprisingly, they rarely use actual emoji.) And it’s paid off: Many followers have stopped thinking of Denny’s social media accounts as brand agents and categorize them more as co-conspirators who are also super passionate about breakfast food. There’s a certain power in that for the brand that can pull it off.



MG


CT
What I find most interesting are the recent stories about brands turning to custom emoji keyboards. The results can be pretty cool: Some of these emojis are sweet and fill in gaps in the universal offerings. But this is still a blatant attempt by brands to say that the existing language isn’t sufficient, and therefore they need to insert their own branded elements into the conversation. It amounts to these brands wanting to change the playing field, which historically never works as well as doing the best you can with what the community is already using.

Amen. When you’re visualizing your audience, exactly who are you envisioning will go out of their way to download and use a special branded emoji set? It’s quite the leap of faith. It’s one thing to go out on a limb and start experimenting with emoji if you think it’s a good fit for your brand. But until you feel confident there’s an interest in something more, it’s probably best to stick to Unicode.

MG

Continue the conversation with us on Twitter. Follow @porternovelli and use #PNConnect to share your thoughts.
Case Study


Case Study

Do You Know Disney Parks?

Followers don’t come much more engaged than Disney fans. Posts from the Disney Parks Blog team, a Voce Communications client, tend to spur lively discussions in comment threads, on social media, and across fan sites. The Disney team and Voce are always looking for new opportunities to help fans share their passion, and their most recent addition — a trivia quiz module — is already a big hit.

Rather than shoehorning an off-the-shelf quiz platform into the blog experience, Voce’s in-house user experience, design, and development team built a custom quiz module to integrate directly with WordPress, the blog’s content management system. With this approach, the team could match the module’s look to the blog aesthetic and include interesting photos and artwork, essential Disney Parks hallmarks. Behind the scenes, the integration made it simple for editors to create and publish new quizzes.

Critically, the team built the module with easy sharing in mind, making it simple for readers to post the score on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, challenging their friends to visit the blog and try the quiz themselves. The team included simple embed code as well so that fans could post quizzes on their own blogs.

Since the quiz module’s launch, readers have tested their knowledge of Critter Country, Splash Mountain, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, Tomorrowland, and more. After the the first seven quizzes, close to 50,000 readers had taken up a challenge and proven their fandom. They can look forward to many more, covering attractions, seasonal park events, park food, parks history, and all things Disney.

PNCONNECT INSIGHT
From the outset, the team built the module with the specific needs of two user groups in mind. First, they tailored the quiz experience to what resonates most with Disney Parks fans: actively participating with the parks, showing their knowledge, learning something new, and most of all, having fun. Second, they built the module admin to plug easily into the blog editors’ content creation and publication workflow.

The quiz results give readers a compelling reason to share content with their own online network, which will help grow the Disney Parks Blog audience. The new platform will serve Disney especially well when promoting special events and celebrating key milestones.


Data vs. Editors

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There’s a sort of weird obsession with the idea that data can solve anything. I really haven’t seen data deliver the results that I’ve seen a great editor deliver.”

– Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel on why Snapchat partnered with traditional media outlets for Discover

Digital Guide

Live-streaming Best Practices

The consumer marketplace loves a good rivalry — Ford vs. Chevy, Windows vs. Mac, Star Trek vs. Star Wars (note: the second option is the correct one in each of these matchups). For social media enthusiasts, the hot rivalry of the moment is Meerkat vs. Periscope, two apps that make it easy to live-stream video to your followers.

Both apps are newcomers, and both have seen rapid adoption among brand publishers who are eager to stay on the cutting edge of social media. But live-streaming itself is hardly new. The now-defunct Justin.tv made a big splash in 2007 by allowing anyone to stream live video to individual channels on its site, and YouTube has long allowed users to set up live broadcasts. The critical addition from Meerkat and Periscope is painless live-streaming on mobile devices.

Still, we can look to the longer history of online live-streaming to define some best practices. Whether or not Meerkat and Periscope stick around, these tried-and-true tactics will prove useful whenever you’re considering live-streaming.
 

Content Creation

  • Know your copyright law and other applicable restrictions: Don’t rebroadcast someone else’s video, and know the rules for video and pictures at an event. Simply put, make sure you have the right to broadcast whatever is appearing in your stream — events, logos, people, and anything else.
  • Have a plan: Since everything happens live, make sure you know what you want to shoot before you start streaming. Like attacking a Death Star, you only get one shot. While it’s fine — even expected — to be a little rough around the edges, you don’t want major missteps.
  • Define your audience: Set out to meet the needs of a specific audience, and make sure they’ll find your content compelling enough to watch. Live-streaming is a niche area of social media right now, so it’s okay to target a niche audience if the content is a natural fit.
  • Promote, promote, promote: For bigger events especially, such as Q&As, and major news announcements, make sure people know when you’ll be broadcasting so they’ll actually tune in. Both Meerkat and Periscope allow you to set upcoming events that show you’ll be broadcasting at a certain time. Make sure you leverage other networks for publicity, too.
  • Keep it professional: Again, while there’s certainly room for things to look a bit less polished, ensure the person shooting the video has a good handle on the basics, like how to frame a shot.


 
 


 

 

Community Growth and Engagement

  • Sync to existing accounts: Both Meerkat and Periscope connect to Twitter, and Meerkat talks to Facebook, too. In addition to promoting individual events, make sure you’re also encouraging users to follow your Periscope or Meerkat account so they’re notified and in place for future events.
  • Engage with the audience: Engagement can be tricky, since the person shooting the video may also be responding to viewers. Still, when possible, take the time to answer questions and interact with viewers.
  • Create a strong call-to-action: When the stream starts, make sure the promotional updates sell the video effectively, making a good case for why someone should bother watching. You need to convince followers that your video is so good that they should drop whatever they’re doing and immediately tune in.
  • Gather available metrics: Metrics for both Meerkat and Periscope are still fairly sparse. Familiarize yourself with them in advance so you can set expectations and have a plan for gathering the data you need.
  • Establish clear goals: What do you want to achieve through your live-stream? Are you simply targeting a certain number of viewers, or are you hoping for some other next action? Make sure you define the target end result clearly at the start of the process and keep it in mind throughout.

About PNCONNECT



PNConnect is the global digital services offering from Porter Novelli. Our global team spans 60 countries and brings the combined digital resources of our social media marketing, creative production, paid promotions and web development capabilities together for one purpose — to help our clients share their story with the world.

For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.


 

Thank You

 

Many thanks to our June contributors.

Andy Stoltzfus in San Francisco wrote this month’s Feature about LinkedIn CommsConnect. Chris Thilk in Chicago created our Guide to live-streaming and Jennifer Laker in Winter Haven stepped up for On Workflow. Stephanie Pham and Mark Avera in Atlanta contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats section, while Daniel Gahagan in Winter Haven provided the latest stats. Mary Gaulke in Sarasota, Erik Sebellin-Ross in San Francisco, and Christopher Barger in Detroit compiled stories and insights for Noteworthy News and Advertising Trends. Chris Thilk and Mary Gaulke took on Conversation Topics, and Sean Lenehan in San Francisco shared our Case Study on the Disney Parks Blog.

Our cover and welcome photos are courtesy of DARPA, and all photos from LinkedIn CommsConnect are courtesy of LinkedIn. Josh Hallett uploaded the Case Study background to Flickr, some rights reserved. Some backgrounds courtesy of subtlepatterns.com and thepatternlibrary.com.

Thanks to Jennifer Laker, Jeff Stieler, and Pete Schiebel from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Mary Gaulke, Tom Harris and Chris Thilk for editorial oversight and proofing.

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