The week in social media: Facebook, Twitter and Trump

Our round up of this week's social media news and insights:

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Facebook, Twitter and Trump

Facebook and Twitter were central in shaping American voters’ perceptions, with one in five social media users modifying their views about a political or social issue because of a social media post, according to a Pew Research survey last month. Mr. Trump, in particular, used Twitter as a primary means of communicating with supporters, bypassing traditional news outlets that he often accused of conspiring against his candidacy. Some 156 million Americans are Facebook members and two-thirds say they get news on the site. But what users see is determined by who their friends are and what they share. On the eve of the election, President Barack Obama raised concerns about such misinformation: ‘As long as it’s on Facebook and people can see it, as long as it’s on social media, people start believing it. It creates this dust cloud of nonsense,’ he said. On Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter played down their roles. ‘Scapegoating social media for an election result ignores the important roles that candidates, voters, and journalists play in the democratic process,’ a spokesman for Twitter said. A Facebook spokeswoman said the social network ‘was just one of many ways people received their information.’ On Election Day, Twitter users sent more than 75 million election-related tweets world-wide before Trump declared victory, while Facebook said 115.3 million users liked, posted, commented and shared content related to the election about 716.3 million times. Twitter's shares rose 4.1 percent Wednesday, boosted by investor recognition of its role in the election outcome. But it hasn’t all been good for the company. As Trump rose on the platform, so did a set of racist, misogynist harassers supporting him, and that caused a major headache for the social network. Following the poll, Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer was asked what role he thought social media had played: ‘It's hard to speculate. Our angle is that people can communicate and share what they want to talk about - that's what our endgame is,’ he said.

PR and Marketing in Social Media

John Lewis brings the star of its #BounceBounce Christmas campaign to life with Snapchat filter

John Lewis has sponsored a Snapchat filter to complement its new Christmas campaign featuring Buster the Boxer dog. The retailer has sponsored it first Lens for the campaign allowing users to transform into Buster for 48 hours, snapping portraits with comedy dog ears and nose. After this, visitors to any of its stores nationwide will be able to apply a Snapchat filter to their selfies in the outlet. John Lewis is also one of the first British brands to experiment with Twitter stickers, allowing users to customise their snaps with images of Buster and other wildlife from the advert when they use the hashtag #BounceBounce The @johnlewisretail account tweeted a link to its highly anticipated festive advert on Thursday morning. The spot has moved away from the emotional tearjerkers of recent years to make viewers laugh, as it tells the story of Buster waiting to try out a trampoline on Christmas morning. Visitors to John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store will also be able to use Oculus Rift goggles to bounce alongside the animals featured in the promotion on a virtual reality trampoline.

Social Media Brands...

Coca-Cola launches #HolidaysAreComing campaign on Twitter

The image of Coca-Cola’s iconic Christmas truck will appear for Twitter users when they include the hashtag #HolidaysAreComing in a tweet. The stunt is part of the brand’s wider truck tour, which returns for a sixth year and will visit 44 locations in the UK in the run up to Christmas. The @CocaCola_GB account tweeted news of the tour with the post: ‘And go go go! The Truck Tour dates have been released’. For those who can’t make the tour, using the campaign hashtag on Twitter will offer a special truck-related treat. The company has placed greater emphasis on social media with this year’s campaign, highlighting its decision to centralise its social media marketing. In addition to the Twitter push, Coca-Cola will also air its famous ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert on TV, 21 years since it was first broadcast as well as the new spot ‘a Coke for Christmas’. The wider promotion incorporates a charitable drive to encourage consumers to ‘Donate a Meal to Someone in Need this Christmas. The brand has partnered with FareShare, a charity fighting against food waste and hunger. The company has also pledged to donate 25p for every photo customers upload to its website of the FareShare logo found on promotional packs of the soft drink. It is also partnering with the Department of Transport’s ‘Think!’ anti drink-driving initiative for a ninth year.

Pinterest woos big brands with new API access

Pinterest has launched a new Application Programming Interface tool, but is retaining a tight lock on who has access. An API allows coders and companies to draw information from and interact with another application, and the Pinterest API allows brands to post pictures to the site through ten designated social media management services, instead of using the native Pinterest application. Brands like Kraft and Procter & Gamble will be able to post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other channels using the ten, which are: Ahalogy, Buffer, Curalate, Expion, Newscred, Percolate, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr and Tailwind. Pinterest wants to make it easier for big companies to share images on the platform. ‘Two-thirds of the content on Pinterest comes from brands and businesses,’ noted Pinterest’s Jyri Kidwell. Pinterest is also revamping its Marketing Developer Partners advertising program. Shortened to Marketing Partners, it allows 15 new players access to its API. The site's existing partnerships with Oracle Data Cloud and Millward Brown Digital remain included in the measurement side of the program. The new players will work closely with the company to help brands match their own data with Pinterest's insights to run programs that use targeting tactics like act-alike audiences and customer-list targeting. ‘This [API] is about putting Pinterest as a marketing tool on steroids,’ said Bob Gilbreath, the co-founder of Ahalogy. ‘The biggest things brands are asking for is, ‘We want to be told what to do. Don’t just tell us what happened,'’ Gilbreath said. In classic Pinterest fashion, the company is keeping a tight rein on who can publish to Pinterest from another application. ‘We’ve carefully selected these ten partners,’ Kidwell said. ‘Just like any other ecosystem, we’ll be auditing and monitoring the [spam] risk. We’re not an open program.’

Facebook targets emerging markets with Snapchat-style Flash

Facebook has launched a new app called Flash, which, with its face-distorting masks, has many similarities with Snapchat. The social network has previously looked to emulate Snapchat, first with Poke, then Slingshot. But Flash is very different. It was built by Facebook’s growth team specifically for emerging markets where Wi-Fi is scarce and connectivity is weak, and where Snapchat doesn’t already have a stranglehold on potential users. Facebook has recently been emulating many of Snapchat's selfie filters and other features and it has tried to buy Snow, the famous ‘Asian Snapchat’. Facebook launched Flash on Tuesday in Brazil, on Android, and plans to bring it to other markets too, but hasn’t yet announced where. The social network hopes that by offering Flash, a light-weight version of Snapchat, which does not take up much storage of data, young people in emerging territories may no longer look to Snapchat at all.

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