Posts

Online trolls are simply bored, study finds

trolling road signMany brand managers ask themselves (and us in seminars) how a shitstorm begins. We most often tell them that many shitstorms are not real business problem but more a “verbal foul-mouthed fart” as we called it some weeks ago in one of the courses at the Executive Campus of the University of St. Gallen.

However, it is obvious that trolling increased in recent years with the rise of Facebook pages, online communities and newspaper comment which spread across the web with insults and provocations. Now, a recent academic study by Dr Claire Hardaker of Lancaster University of almost 4,000 trolling cases states that internet trolls travel on the anonymity of the web and can come from all ages on backgrounds.

“Aggression, deception and manipulation are increasingly part of online interaction, yet many users are unaware not only that some of these behaviours exist, but of how destructive and insidious they can be. The image of trolling is that it is mainly the work of young people, but the fact is trolls come from all ages and backgrounds. They will use different strategies to trigger the response they want from people. Some of these are a lot sneakier than others. It is not just about personal abuse.” Dr Claire Hardaker, Lancaster University

In an article of the Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict soon to be published, Dr Claire Hardaker warns that trolls have become more sophisticated. Still, she gives advice on how to identify troll attacks. She shows the detailed approach that trolls make use of and makes clear that the trigger is often amusement,

Here are the seven deadly sins of trolling and how they are effective
1) Digressing from the topic at hand, especially onto sensitive topics.
Not necessarily overtly argumentative, this tactic frustrates its targets with its pointlessness and circularity. Digression onto sensitive topics triggers the strongest reactions.

2) Hypocriticising, especially for a fault that the critic then displays themself.
A simple tactic, often this is pedantic criticism of grammar, spelling or punctuation in a post which itself contains proofreading errors to provoke exasperated responses from others.

3) Antipathising, by taking up an alienating position, asking pseudo-naive questions, etc.
This tactic is heavily reliant on deceiving the group it is aimed at and covertly manipulates egos, sensitivities, morals and feelings of guilt, usually to trigger emotional responses. It can also create moral dilemmas.

4) Endangering others by giving dangerous advice, encouraging risky behaviour, etc.
A trolling strategy designed to masquerade as help or advice whilst actually causing harm and/or forcing others to respond to prevent harm. It relies on the target’s social responsibility and moral obligation.

5) Shocking others by being insensitive about sensitive topics, explicit about taboo topics, etc.
This appears to succeed mainly due to the strength of feeling provoked by the deeply personal and extraordinarily hurtful nature of the troll’s insensitivity. It triggers a desire to retaliate that is stronger than the desire to deny the troll the satisfaction of a response.

6) Aggressing others by insulting, threatening, or otherwise plainly attacking them without (adequate) provocation.
This is open and deliberate aggression without any clear justification with the aim of antagonising its target into retaliating.

7) Crossposting – sending the same offensive or provocative message to multiple groups then waiting for the response.

Do you have any hints and tips how to work with internet trolls? Share them, we are sure most readers will enjoy your advice.

My quote of the year 2013 – Social Media, Social Networks and Social Business

Credits: © Mirma - Fotolia.com

Credits: © Mirma – Fotolia.com

In 2010, I started pinning down my main message to companies and their C-level managers in one quote. Thereafter, different quotes evolved which I collected in the vision area of the “About” page.

The value of such a quote is for some managers marginal and for others massive when using it to explain the transformation of the business into a digital community-centric company or brand. Take it for what it is, and for what it’s worth for you, or let’s discuss it.

For this year the quote will be about social business strategy…

“Social Networking is business intend. Social Media is business duty. Social Business is business freestyle.”

Just before you start asking… By “business freestlye”, I address all departments in your company (like marketing, sales, customer service, HR, or other) that are responsible for planning, using, handling, and organizing the business tactics and strategy around the brand, product line or service offering of business relevance.

Some facts that might be interesting for each one of those..
Social Networks – Which are growing fastest?
Social Media – Facts, Figures and Stats 2013
Social Business – Some Facts 2013

PS: If you do it right, your workforce will freak out like the guy in this post. Believe me…!

Study: Content Marketing – a challenge? B2B hiding behind false excuses…?

We had written about a Curata content marketing survey some months ago. Now, I came across another research which is making it’s way through the web, and I am glad as I have been asked at a University St. Gallen event for some new insights on the topic today.

The Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 benchmarks shows what the challenges for marketers are: producing enough content (64%), producing the kind of content that engages an audience (52%), or producing a variety of content (45%).

Sounds like we have heard that before, right…?

If you think lack of budget is still the issue, you might find yourself being in the wrong corner. Just 39% of the respondents said that they lack budget. Furthermore, traditional restrictions and limits like buy-in/vision (22%) or finding trained content marketers (14%) is falling out; not even senior level buy-in is their biggest challenge (7%).

All lies? Well, seems like that… And when just 14% say, they are having problems hiring in this field, i would suggest some clever journalists or PR managers have found a way to market themselves.

Challenges For Content Marketing 2013So, a questions arises that also came up today in my moderation: What is the real issue, why marketers don’t challenge the content marketing business?

We have probably all heard what Outbrain told us today in their speech that push is the new pull, advertising becomes marketing, creation the modern editorial, campaigns are the always-on of tomorrow which makes sprints the new marathons. Still, the question is whether marketers understand why this should become the new budget engine for a change in an emerging shift towards content marketing and away from advertising?! Maybe marketers need to understand what makes them a media-house? Content curation, distribution and measurement might be more of a big bang theory to address…

Measurement for B2B Content Marketing Success 2013Spot On!
The challenge might actually arise in the definition where content marketing gets propelled. Many marketers see still search engine advertising (SEA) their wholly grail. If companies get turned around into SEO engines, the whole result-driven aspect of the fluid content marketing world would not be questioned any longer. It just depends on getting the right people engaged inside the office and to find the commitment that lets the formerly outsourced world stand in the shade. And have companies ever understood the value of content? Content is not a test budget! It is an attitude towards business, towards communication, towards social business. Or have you ever put into question why you send out newsletters, flyers, whitepapers, or even company brochures? Blogs, status updates, tweets… written in an intelligent way, is increasing the way your conversations will arise…

Are you really hiding in the content marketing fields, marketers – or is it a real challenge…?

Google: Demystifying Duplicate Content

In many meetings, and I had one of those calls today, I understand again and again that managers have limited knowledge of what “Duplicate Content” means when working with multiple sites and/or using similar content on those. Now, what does Google really say about duplicate content? Can your business place similar text blocks or complete texts on different blogs and websites? And how about same content but in different languages?

In a video clip Greg Grothaus, a Google engineer for search quality, explains what “Duplicate Content” stands for and what it means to businesses.

General answer: Is there a Duplicate Content Penalty from Google? No, it’s a myth! Google wants diversity in the results that Google displays on search results. That’s the reason why pages might be omitted from Google which makes sense.

Deep answer: There are typical downsides of “Dupicate Content”.
– Dilution of link popularity: Better have 20 links go to one page, then twice 10 to two pages.
– User-unfriendly URLs in search results: Useless URLs effect branding & decrease usability – so better leave it.
– Inefficient crawling: The less Google has to crawl, the better for the new content to be seen.

Best answer: Google does not like Spam. Spam will find penalty, if it is done with a systematic approach, or when there is the absolute same content on different pages with no changes at all.

Our Advice: Create fresh content! Or do you want to buy the same stuff or gadgets you already have received as a present for Christmas? See…?

Study: Content Marketing is becoming big in B2B, focus is shifting…

A recent study by Curata identified the main drivers of content marketing activities in B2B companies. The findings are based on Curata’s poll of 465 B2B marketing professionals in October 2012 from business owners, VPs of Marketing, CMOs, managers, marketing consultants and agencies.

The study explains that content marketing continues to become more and more important for B2B marketers. However, the drivers for content strategies are shifting towards thought leadership and market education.

The results show that 87% of responding B2B marketing professionals use content marketing for business goals targets (5% increase to 2011). Content marketing gets followed by SEO (67%) and event marketing (60%) as further leading channels in marketing strategies in 2012.

Further findings of the study show that although engaging customers (81%) has top priority for their content marketing efforts, thought leadership and educating the market are increasing in their importance for the business. More than half of B2B marketers (56%) state thought leadership as a key objective (13% increase to 2011). Also, educating the market (47%) increased by 3% to last year. Just 24% see SEO as a key objective (still a 5% increase to last year). Former top marketing tactics (print/TV/radio) went down from 32% to 26% this year.

Spot On!
Lead generation is still one of the key marketing goals for B2B marketers according to the survey. Most B2B marketers (82%) see driving sales and leads as their top marketing goal. Establishing thought leadership (42%), increasing brand awareness (40%), or increasing Web traffic (32%) follow in the next places. Content curation is also getting traction as the next step in content marketing. 57% of B2B marketers see it as an important evolution step. However, content curation is in it’s infancy when only 34% of curating content marketers have done it since six months or less. Quite scary I found that a staggering 43% of B2B marketers don’t measure the efficiency of their content marketing efforts. I found interesting that the topic brand advocates was not on the spot in terms of content marketing in this study.

Social Media & Customer Service? Companies have got 60 minutes max. to react

Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.

In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.

Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5” workplace we know from our fathers.

Spot On!
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…

How people see it – The state of social at work

The technology service provider Appirio published some findings that most business people are more social personally than they are at work.

The findings show that twice as many managers are engaged in Social Media compared to the people they have in their teams. What the survey did not tell us is the reason why the people are using social platforms and features less than their managers. Are they not allowed to engage on communities at work? Are Social Media policies too much black and white? Or do they not see the benefits Social Media offers?

The positive outcome is that there is some understanding of culture and ownership of the social business as the driving factors for success. Although marketing seems to be owning the social business transformation, the question remains if this does not make space for a new position in companies like chief web officer or chief culture officer. Another question that could be raised in companies in my eyes.

How Mobile Marketing and B2B work together (video)

We have already shared some information on a Google and Compete study that shows why B2B and mobile have a close connection. And the most relevant information from a mobile point of view can be taken from eMarketer graphic.

The importance of mobile for B2B is partly as business decision makers are frequent travelers, thus most connected business people, and partly as smartphones and tablets have given them a new freedom. And today, we also know from CNBC research that executives in Europe see the increasing value of being engaged on Twitter. B2B managers can and have their conversations anytime-anywhere from their devices.

But what is the marketing potential it offers for companies then?

As business decision makers by their definition have to be fast in their decision making process, today’s professionals need to be connected, informed, and productive wherever they are traveling, or whenever they are in meetings. As of that mobile devices give B2B marketing new opportunities to open up new relationships if using apps, QR codes or video in an intelligent way.

In her YouTube channel, on Twitter and in her blog) Christina CK Kerley shares her knowledge on mobile B2B strategies alongside some good cases. Her latest video gives some insight in how B2B marketers can use mobile to connect the offline and the online world in order to leverage B2B printed ads, to integrate the customers’ voice into video, or to bolster B2B thought-leadership content through images, video and text.

Bring your own device (BYOD) in the 21st Century (Video)

It is no surprise anymore that Millenials prefer to use their own computers and mobiles at work. And they are also open to manage their service or support topics for themselves as long as they get the freedom to do so. It is their devices, so they will want them to work. Don’t we all hate to wait for IT to get the latest update of some kind of software. Shame we do not have the administration rights to do so.

Although BYOD might cause a headache to CIO’s and their IT managers, this next generation of managers might be right from a company efficiency and productivity point of view. What BYOD means in the future, the benefits it offer to businesses and how schools might be working with this trend, gets nicely explained in this little video by Marc-Andre Lalande. It explains in an 8-minute “Pedagogical Quickie” the many advantages and limitations of this concept for education.

Study ConnectedTV – What's the leading strategy?

© carlos castilla - Fotolia.com

GoogleTV or AppleTV? How is the future of connected TV going to look like? TV and Internet companies realize the power of connected TV but are still not quite sure what’s the most effective TV strategy to go forward.

This is the main finding of a recent study conducted by MPP Global Solutions which tried to figure out which company has the best strategy to be successful in terms of the connected TV market. The findings of the study which was done during an online webinar showed that the respondents were undecided on where the successful future could be found.

The research which was called ‘Redrawing the Lines in the Battle for the Living Room’ states that just 26% of senior industry managers identified Apple’s future TV service as successful in the long run. However, this findings was also mentioned by others with 22% who saw Google-TV and Netflix (17%) as creating the right effective strategy for the future. The MPP Global Solutions study analyzed the current position of the connected TV market as a whole and the major players within the industry.

“This inconclusive result reflects the content of the discussion; that the Connected-TV market is still coming out of the early adopter phase and even major players such as Apple, Google and Netflix are still trying to identify the best approach for success”. James Eddleston, Head of Marketing, MPP Global Solutions.

Although some big companies like Google, Apple and the likes are working on their connectedTV strategy, the user is not there yet. A recent study by YouGov found out that just 35% of connected TV owners use their devices for on-demand services, with one in four (25%) having never connected it to the internet at all. It will take time until the user is following the connected TV trend as a whole. The study makers said connected TV sales is set to increase by 70% by 2016.

Spot On!
For companies trying to address the connected TV market, it is essential to develop an effective strategy for the right user experience. Until companies find some intelligent solution the user will probably stay with the magic combination: TV and the second screen: smartphones and tablets. At the moment, users love to do multitasking as we learned from the latest Yahoo and Razorfish study. The respondents of that study said 80% do multitasking while watching TV. More than 60% use their mobiles once or twice while watching TV. And I am quite sure this will stay for quite a while. Or is the split screen a solution? Or the one-in-one program as a time-shift solution? While you change to the internet, the TV program goes in a stand-by mode?