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How to maximise website traf c using social media during major global events
Executive Summary An update on Social Media and Online News in the UK Social Media Case studies Conclusion
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2 - Social Media Update
• Social media continues to be the fastest growing sector online in the UK, growing
by 17% year-on-year in 2010. For the rst time ever in 2011, social media became the single biggest activity online, overtaking the Entertainment category.
• In January 2011, social networks accounted for 12.4% of all UK Internet visits.
Across the 9,000 social networks monitored by Experian Hitwise, there were over 2.4 billion visits from UK Internet users during the month, more than in any other month on record. . websites accounted for 6.1% of all visits by UK Internet users.
• News and Media is the sixth biggest category online. In January 2011 news • Social media is integral to online news because of the real-time updates. The
death of Michael Jackson, the Hudson River plane crash and the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull were all being talked about and shared on Twitter before many mainstream news sources caught up. clicks relating to Egypt news, demonstrating how valued the social networks were as a channel for discovering news during an unfolding political event.
• During the Egypt crisis in February 2011, social networks accounted for 12.7% of all
• Arab news network Al Jazeera and travel website Lonely Planet both established
themselves as trusted authorities during the Egypt crisis. Al Jazeera received its highest ever volume of UK traf c, with weekly visits to the website increasing by 140% at the peak of demand for Egypt news. Meanwhile, the Lonely Planet website was the fth biggest recipient of traf c for all searches for Egypt holidays. website increased by 24%, more than any other airline. British Airways focused on updating its customers with the latest ight information through Twitter updates. The bene t of adopting this strategy was that, according to BA’s own social media monitoring tools, positive sentiment towards the airline trebled.
• During the major snow chaos of December 2010, visits to the British Airways
For the rst time ever in 2011, social media became the single biggest activity online, overtaking the Entertainment category.
3 - Social Media Update
An update on Social Media and Online News in the UK
A quick introduction to this paper This paper was created to complement our earlier social media paper Getting to Grips with Social Media. Whilst Getting to Grips was intended as a basic introduction to the constantly evolving topic of social media, this paper takes the next step with analysis of growing trends in the industry and examples of how brands have bene ted from an effective social media strategy. This paper looks to illustrate how companies can use social media to seize on major world events as an opportunity to become an online authority, and in doing so increase their brand reputation. By tapping into online communities, a brand like Lonely Planet managed to increase its traf c for Egypt holidays by 79% during the political unrest in February 2011. How did a travel review site achieve huge traf c spikes for holidays during Egypt’s most recent turbulent political history? Read on and nd out how to maximise your traf c through social media during major world events.
The recent growth of social media Social media continues to be the fastest growing sector online in the UK and in 2010 alone visits to the Experian Hitwise Social Networks and Forums category increased by 17%. For the rst time ever in 2011, social media became the single biggest activity online, overtaking the Entertainment category.
4 - Social Media Update
In January 2011 social networks accounted for 12.4% of all UK Internet visits. Across the 9,000 social networks monitored by Experian Hitwise there were over 2.4 billion visits from UK Internet users during the month, more than in any other month on record. Social media goes from strength to strength. Not only are people visiting social sites more regularly, the time they spend on these websites is increasing, with the average session time spent on a social network in January 2011 being 22 minutes. The range and diversity of social networks is also on the up. The data shows that social media users are rarely tied exclusively to just one social network. Indeed, the interaction between different social sites is immense, as users dart between multiple networks in order to chat to their various groups of friends and associates. Social media is fast, interactive, exciting, and growing. In 2011 we expect social media to grow by at least another 10%, with a lot of that growth driven by Facebook. The UK’s most popular social network is gaining an even greater market share of the social space, even as the market is diversifying, and there is a very real possibility that at some point this year Facebook will account for over 60% of all visits to social networks and forums (currently Facebook accounts for 56% of visits to social sites). How news is being spread through social media The Internet is a gateway to information; a vast and unique portal through which we can learn virtually anything we desire. As our appetite for information becomes ever more voracious, greater demands are being placed on the Internet to provide that information in real-time. Social media has become an indispensible tool to share news and information online instantly. News and Media is the sixth biggest category online in Britain. In January 2011 news websites accounted for 6.1% of all visits by UK Internet users. Social media is carving its own niche within online news, as a way to spread news in real-time, but also as a way for friends to recommend interesting news stories to each other. With the growth of social media has also come the birth of “social journalism”. Now anyone with a decent smartphone and access to Twitter can be a reporter. Major news stories such as the death of Michael Jackson, the Hudson River plane crash and the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull all broke through social media before many traditional media channels were able to relay the information.
In 2011 we expect social media to grow by at least another 10%, with a lot of that growth driven by Facebook.
5 - Social Media Update
http://twitpic.com/135xa - There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.
What’s really interesting about the developments in online news is that the British public now trust online news sources more than TV news bulletins and newspapers. 58% of people asked in Ofcom’s 2010 survey of media literacy said that they trusted online news, whereas only 54% said they trusted the news they saw on TV. This makes social media one of the fastest, biggest and most trusted sources of news delivery in the UK. How can brands use social media to bene t from this growing trend of sharing news? We know that social media is growing rapidly, and that because of the real-time updates provided by social media consumers are going to social forums more and more to nd out what is going on in the world. The key question for marketers is: How can my brand bene t from this social trend? The answer is that social media provides an avenue through which your brand can communicate and participate in the conversations that are occurring online when major news stories break. If you can be seen as an authority on a given subject then your brand reputation will increase, and ultimately conversions and sales will increase as a result of your participation in the social sphere. The case studies provided in this paper show how brands have seized upon a major news event and turned it to their advantage by becoming an authority through social media.
6 - Social Media Update
Social Media Case Studies
Al Jazeera and Lonely Planet during the Eqyptian political crisis: January - February 2011 In January 2011 there was a popular uprising in Egypt which led to demonstrations, riots and labour strikes. Protesters took to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria in an attempt to overthrow the autocracy of President Hosni Muburak. After weeks of civil unrest, on 11 February 2011, President Mubarak resigned, and a new Egyptian political era began.
Egypt crisis: More danger for protestors?
Egypt crisis: Hope that Hosni Mubarak may step down dashed
During the Egypt crisis, people were regularly going online to nd out information on the latest developments in the story. In the week ending 12 February, at the peak of the crisis, more visits were going to social media sites for search terms relating to the Egypt unrest than visits to the main News and Media – Print sites.
7 - Social Media Update
Overall, News and Media accounted for 13.3% of all visits after searches for Egypt terms, but social networks accounted for 12.7% of visits, which just goes to show how valued social networks were as a channel for discovering news during the unfolding political events. Speci cally, Facebook accounted for 6.4% of all of the Egypt-related clicks, more than any other news source after the BBC. As the story evolved, two websites made their mark in the downstream traf c for searches for the latest news on Egypt updates. Arab news network Al Jazeera emerged as a natural authority on the topic of Egypt. During the crisis the English language version of the Al Jazeera website saw its highest ever volume of UK traf c, with weekly visits to the website increasing by 140% at the peak of demand for Egypt news.
What’s interesting here is that although the majority of traf c was coming to the Al Jazeera website from search, 1 in 5 clicks to the website were coming from social media. This was partly because Al Jazeera invested in creating live updates and video content on Facebook, but also because people were sharing news links with friends through Facebook and Twitter and this was directing further traf c to the main Al Jazeera website.
8 - Social Media Update
Another website that bene ted from making itself an authority on the subject of Egypt was Lonely Planet. The company set up a travel forum asking members of its online community that were in Egypt to post real-time updates on what was happening where they were in the country. As a result, traf c to the Lonely Planet website doubled during the protests, and 5% of all traf c to the site came from a search term relating to the political unrest.
As the violent clashes and protests turned to progress, and the eventual resignation of President Mubarak; searches spiked for both Egypt political terms but also for holidays to Egypt.
As a result, traf c to the Lonely Planet website doubled during the protests, and 5% of all traf c to the site came from a search term relating to the political unrest.
9 - Social Media Update
Having made itself an authority on the subject of Egypt, the bonus for Lonely Planet was that online audiences now associated the website not just as a great source of news and information but also as a place to book their holidays. In the week of celebrations when searches for Egypt holidays spiked, Lonely Planet was the fth biggest recipient of traf c for all searches for Egypt holidays, showing a remarkable 79% increase from the previous week.
British Airways during the winter snow: December 2010 December 2010 was a month when the weather had an instrumental effect on online behaviour. The snow almost ruined Christmas as online retailers could not guarantee delivery dates in time for Christmas Eve, and in the travel market chaos on the roads, rails and air routes caused passengers delays and companies severe PR headaches.
10 - Social Media Update
To put the snow in context of other major events which severely disrupted travel, the chart below shows visits to the News and Media – Weather category and the Travel –Transport category, which includes websites for airlines, roads and rail.
The area highlighted in blue shows the spikes in traf c to both categories during the weeks of the Icelandic volcano eruption which grounded ights across most of Europe for weeks due to the stream of volcanic ash. By comparison, the areas highlighted in pink are the times when there was snow in the UK, most signi cantly in December 2010 when traf c was more than twice that of the volcano spikes. One brand which managed much better than its peers during the December snow was British Airways. The airline sees social media principally as a channel to talk to its existing customers, rather than as a customer acquisition channel, and through regular updates on Twitter British Airways was able to deliver excellent customer service during challenging travel circumstances.
11 - Social Media Update
The normal policy for the airline would be to issue a mixture of tweets which focused on customer service updates, deals, and marketing messages. However, during the snow British Airways realised that its customers were only interested in ight updates, and that marketing tweets would likely increase the customers’ frustration. The company sensibly opted to restrict its tweeting to information which was going to be useful for its customers during the period of winter snowfall.
“British Airways’ Twitter account has been helping people almost non-stop, DMing vital ight information to beleaguered customers.”
The bene t of adopting this strategy was that positive sentiment tripled during the snow chaos, according to BA’s own social media monitoring tools. Customers were kept well informed of any developments, and overall the brand came out positively from the potentially crippling situation. The Daily Telegraph praised British Airways for its social media strategy: “British Airways’ Twitter account has been helping people almost non-stop, DMing vital ight information to beleaguered customers.” Despite the frustrations and anger of customers during the snow, the overwhelming majority left with a positive impression of British Airways. As a knock-on effect of this positive impression, BA saw a 12% year-on-year increase in visits to its website in January 2011, in part due to the fact that consumers valued the effort that the airline had gone to in order to take care of them during a time of crisis.
We’ve extra sta on the phones but till have high call volumes. Numbers: 0800727800 UK, 18002479297 US & http://bit.ly/evo576
If you’re unable 2 rebook online (whatever reason), you’ll need to call us. Pls only call if you’ve been directly a ected by cancellations.
12 - Social Media Update
Seizing the moment in social media December 2010 was a month when the weather had an instrumental effect on online behaviour. The snow almost ruined Christmas as online retailers could not guarantee delivery dates in time for Christmas Eve, and in the travel market chaos on the roads, rails and air routes caused passengers delays and companies severe PR headaches. Often a crisis or disaster is avoided at all costs by a company’s PR department, who do not want the brand associated with negative news stories. But as the case studies of Al Jazeera, Lonely Planet and British Airways show, it is possible to achieve a positive outcome from a negative story. By establishing trust and authority on a given topic, these websites have received short term tangible bene ts, and the long term bene ts are incalculable. These achievements were made possible by social media. The political unrest in Egypt demonstrates how much in uence social networks are having on traf c to news sites and retailers. Web users like to share news and events with friends and increasingly social networks are gaining momentum to challenge search engines as the main drivers of traf c to websites. By tapping into the potential of online communities, brands can see great dividends to their site traf c. Make the most of the news opportunities that are relevant to your brand, seize the moment, and through good social media practice, your brand will bene t from increased traf c and sales.
By tapping into the potential of online communities, brands can see great dividends to their site traf c.
13 - Social Media Update
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