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Posts Tagged ‘social media marketing’

The week in social: Tumblr cashes in, new look Flickr and super-specific searches

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Yahoo buys Tumblr

As predicted last week (we must have had our ears pressed firmly to the ground), Yahoo bought Tumblr on Monday for a whopping $1.1billion. All cash. That’s a lot of suitcases full of notes. In an attempt to attract younger players to the Yahoo brand, CEO Marissa Mayer said Tumblr was perfect to appear “cool and relevant’ and signposted that this deal represents ‘the stake in the ground of what her strategy is going forward for Yahoo.”

Read more on the deal here.

  
Twitter hands you your cards

Announced last week, Twitter Cards now enable users to sign up for a product or service with a single click (no more filling out the same info on several forms). The Lead Generation Card - “makes it easy for users to express interest in what your brand offers. Users can easily and securely share their email address with a business.”

Learn more and see how they could work for you.

  
Flickr gets new look

Smack bang in the middle of the day that Yahoo bought Tumblr, the Yahoo-owned photo storage giant Flickr went and got itself a makeover. It’s almost like it was planned… as Marissa Mayer explains: ‘We have a nice set of the creator brands. Photographers and writers. With that, there is natural set of opportunities that arise between Flickr and Tumblr and we’ll deal with that as it comes’. In a coup for users, alongside the revamp was the news that each account holder now receives 1 Terabyte of free storage – or enough room to park 537,731 photos. So get snapping!

  
Pinterest gets more…pinteresting

In a move aimed to broaden Pinterest’s appeal, it announced Wednesday that it would be partnering with individual brands to allow them to display deep dive data instead of simply linking back to the original item in the form of Product Pins. For example, a grocery store could pin a photo of a meal, and have the Pin display all the ingredients and prices needed to create it. Handy as it stops users ending up being directed somewhere else, able to “glean more information direct from the site…making the platform more attractive to advertisers in the process.” Are we looking at a ‘visual Google’ in the new age of SAO (Social Aggregation Optimization)?

Find out here.

  
Gaming gets more social

Alongside the Xbox One announcement this week, Microsoft debuted Skype on the new device. Alongside group video calling (via the Kinect camera), the Xbox/Skype combo will allow you to share in-game (or in-movie) screenshots via the Snap feature of the console and the photo sharing capabilities of Skype. Voice commands will also be available making it “easy and natural for you to celebrate and experience the moments that matter to you—how and when you want, together, through your living room TV”.

Read more on the official blog.

  
Lend us a tenner…

…on your phone. Things just got interesting – and a little bit secretive – in the money-lending stakes. Square Cash, an invite-only page, purports to let friends send money directly to each other’s debit cards. We’re not sure whether this is a good idea, or has the potential to go very wrong (perhaps late at night, perhaps having imbibed a few adult beverages and feeling particularly friendly).

See how it could work for you here.

  
Is Facebook turning teens off?

A Pew study has shown that online teens are spending less time on Facebook. It mentions ‘over-sharing’ and ‘drama’ as being turn offs and reasons for turning to other platforms such as Twitter (which has seen an increased usage among teens from 16% in 2011 to 24% today). Interestingly, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest don’t get much of a look-in among this demographic, with only 11%, 3%, 5% and 1% reach respectively.

Visit Pew for more.

  
Twitter launches ad targeting for TV

Via a special dashboard, Twitter now allows campaign managers to monitor when a commercial has aired on TV and coordinate promoted tweets, pushing social interaction with live programming. Michael Fleischman of Twitter said that the new service uses ‘video fingerprinting technology to automatically detect when and where a brand’s commercials are running on TV, without requiring that advertiser to do any manual tracking or upload media plan details’. Instream broadcasting clips can also now be broadcast by a brand as part of Twitter Amplify, with BBC America, FOX, Fuse and the Weather Channel being among early adopters.

Read more on the Twitter ad blog.

  
Foursquare launches super-specific searches

This week, Foursquare launched a more advanced suite of super-specific search options for mobile users looking to find relevant places of interest nearby. In a blog post, Foursquare showcased a number of sample searches as examples of how users might use the new functionality including. “One of the museums in Paris that my friend Matt went to last year, that’s also near my hotel.” and “A bar downtown that’s new to me, but that my friends have been to. Oh, and that has margaritas.” There is also the option to indicate the amount of money you’re willing to spend while searching for restaurants and the like using a series of pecuniary symbols like $, $$, $$$.

  
100 hours of video per minute…

..is the rate at which the 1 billion YouTube users (per month) are uploading to the service. Someone else did the maths, and that’s over 4 days of video uploaded every minute of every day. Helping the increase (from 72 hours per minute last year) are YouTube’s move into paid-for channels that are ‘aimed at rivalling streaming services like Hulu and Netflix’.

More stats and facts here.

  
Another purchase for Yahoo?

Rumours abound that Yahoo (fresh from buying Tumblr and revamping Flickr) are looking to move into the streaming video world with a reported bid for Hulu. Up against other bidders like Directv and Time Warner Cable, it looks as if Yahoo have thrown their hat into the ring too. To see the pricing, and find out the bidding history for the site, read more here.

  
App.net passes 100,000 users

ADN (as the service is sometimes known – App Dot Net) is an ad-free social platform popular with developers, and has both free and paid-for options. Free users can follow 40 other people and have 500MB storage on-site. Paid subscriptions keep the site clean of ads for both sets of users. The site is responsible for 1,500 developed apps, and has 150 in their app directory.

For more details, read this post.

  
Digg says new Reader won’t be a standalone app

This week, Digg announced that Digg Reader, Digg’s Google Reader replacement tool will not come as a standalone app, rather as an addition to Digg’s current platform. Announcing the news at Internet Week New York, Andrew McLaughlin (CEO of Digg) said “aiming to build something that’s very clean, very simple and very fast.” The new service will include the ability to sort by popularity, and will be displayed in “a really clean, uncluttered way, with a lot of speed and performance”.

More info on the service can be found here.

Embracing co-creation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Last year, Abi Sawyer, Senior Producer for Future Media at the BBC World Service visited 1000heads to update us on how such a complex and public organisation was embracing social. Molly wrote a great blog post about the insights we gained into balancing transparency and public content with journalistic rigour.

So when I stumbled across the announcement of the World Service 80th birthday celebrations, I was intrigued to learn that it would be inviting the public to see behind the scenes of some of its programmes.  Another ‘head and I duly headed over to Bush House for a glimpse at the mechanics behind World Have Your Say.

As an editorial manager I was naturally interested in seeing how the editorial meeting panned out; particularly as the agenda for the programme on this special occasion was to be set by the its vast audience of listeners from across the globe. Taking our place amongst a select group of live participants, we were given headphones to listen to the calls coming in from around the world as the WHYS editorial team planned that evening’s broadcast.

The calls came in from regions as diverse as Indonesia, Tunisia and China. Topics ranged from McDonalds’ newly unveiled plans to open another 225-250 new outlets in China, to Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki offering asylum to Syria’s leader Bashar Assad, each suggestion resulting in an intensive debate amongst the team and audience as to its value and relevance to the global community.

With this international conversation unfolding from a collection of tweets, messages, emails and calls, it was a brilliant example of how the BBC uses social media as a supporting voice when creating a cohesive deconstruction of global opinion.

Steve Titherington, World Service commissioning editor, said: ‘We are turning Bush House inside out, showing who we are and what we do and asking what the world wants next from the BBC World Service’, while Peter Horrocks, director of Global News, added: ‘These are historic and changing times for the World Service. We want our audiences to be at the heart of both the commemoration of the past and conversation about the future.’

For me, this tied nicely into Nokia’s announcement at Mobile World Congress that it would be taking the new strategic direction of ‘co-creation’, with fans invited to collaborate with the company’s marketing team to create more interest around the brand. In short, both the BBC and Nokia have recognised that involving their audiences increases trust in their brand and encourages more emotional attachment, as well as resulting in richer and more valuable content. In turn this creates advocacy, whereby fans want to share the work or concept they helped to create, and ultimately helps brands to take a real step towards being an integrally social business.

Even 80-year old, traditional and highly regulated organisations such the BBC World Service are fundamentally changing and embracing social. If they can do it…

Man or machine; Tesco and the flowchart fallacy

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Here at 1000heads we often extol the virtues of using human analysts to derive meaningful insights and recommendations from WOM listening. We also talk about how brands need to be more human when interacting with people in social media (and beyond). For a large organisation to achieve this, and to deal with any customer service issues that arise, there must clearly be some sort of process involved.

But what happens when that process actually makes the humans seem like robots?

Watching the recent Tesco employment story evolve, we saw a well-run and personalised customer service Twitter stream begin repeating the same message to multiple people for hours on end. But regardless of your views on the issue itself something went very wrong with the way Twitter was used to respond to people’s concerns. What’s more, I’ve no doubt that it was a human in charge of the Twitter feed. So what went wrong?

I imagine what we saw here was that Tesco has a prescriptive set of KPIs telling operators how many people they should reply to and a flowchart telling them how to respond in a crisis. These two processes perhaps worked together to make Tesco suddenly appear less human and more like a robotic call centre. Like other Twitter outbursts such as the GAP logo change, this may not have a lasting effect on Tesco’s reputation in the short term. But all brands should remember that human operators are more than capable of appearing machinelike in certain situations. A coordinated, sincere, human response to a situation like this is really hard to pull off, but a modern social business has to aspire to it.

How do you encourage the people running your social presence to come up with a better solution? For me it has to start with measuring the right things. For example, if you measure the % of tweets you are responding to as a success metric, your team is left with no incentive to demand a change to the script when it’s really needed.  They’ll just keep on tweeting to hit their quota. It’s the same reason why direct marketing can become labelled as junk mail. The need to hit volumes outweighs the ambition to be targeted and relevant, and brands only entrench themselves deeper when social interactions go wrong.

This problem of blind process getting in the way of delivery has been solved elsewhere. In his excellent book “How to Measure Anything” Douglas Hubbard describes the early days of agile software development, where people measured the speed of work simply because it is an easy thing to quantify and optimise. But when these developers produced a large amount of features that no-one wanted to use, the realisation struck that a gauge closer to a consumer-facing outcome was needed.

So if our supposition is correct the first thing Tesco needs is a shift from speed-of-work based reporting to measurement based on outcomes.  In doing so its Twitter team would be empowered with the flexibility to identify an issue and elevate it internally (with the benefit of a linear organisation structure to provide the speed and level of authority needed), which would ultimately allow the brand to respond in a human and empathetic way.

The new face of 1000heads

Monday, February 27th, 2012

We have a new look.  Perhaps the result of a delayed January detox and an early Spring clean, we’ve tweaked our brand identity and revamped our website.

Yet while visual updates are refreshing and reinvigorating, what else has changed?

Mike Rowe recently talked about the journey we’ve come on, from humble beginnings in 1999 to more recent client wins, new hires and award successes.  Over that time we have changed – in size and skill set – but what’s remained constant is our steadfast belief in Word of Mouth, conversation and sharing; in social communication.

And as the marketing and social landscape continues to change, at a rate nobody could have ever predicted, this ethos has never been more relevant.

So we’ve given ourselves a new look and used some new, simpler words to set out our stall.

Tell us what you think.

You Me Bum Bum Train and the Art of Exclusivity

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Scarcity, secrecy, exclusivity. Three words that don’t exactly reflect the transparency and freedom of information that brands are supposedly striving for in a social age. But that’s also the reason that they can be so powerful in triggering emotional impact and peer-to-peer conversation when they are used well.

Last week, a friend of mine invited me to volunteer for something called YMBBT. Armed with no more information than an address in the West End and a time for that evening, I was slightly nervous that I had signed myself up for some dubious Soho debauchery. When a quick Google search revealed nothing except for the fact that YMBBT stood for ‘You Me Bum Bum Train’, my anticipation – and anxiety – understandably increased.

For those of you who haven’t heard about YMBBT, well – the first rule of YMBBT is that you don’t talk about YMBBT. All I need to tell you is that it’s a highly sought-after interactive theatre experience run almost entirely by volunteers who, like me, don’t really know what they are volunteering for. And when I say highly sought-after, I mean sought-after.  80,000 applied for just 1,000 tickets during its last run, all without a clue what they were signing up for.

The absolute secrecy of the whole enterprise is key to its success. Counter-intuitively, explicitly asking people to restrict the nature of their word of mouth drives word of mouth like wildfire.

YMBBT is just one of several examples of brands that know the value of cloak and dagger.  We’ve talked before about how pop-up shops harness people’s desire to uncover unconventional retail gems before anyone else.

Secret Cinema is another fantastic example. Paying over the odds to see a film you may or may not like in a location that may or may not be anywhere near you sounds bizarre in a world of hyper-personalisation, convenience and tribal passion groups. But it sells out every time precisely because it subverts those trends. Sometimes, not being pandered to makes you respect a brand or experience very much indeed.

Of course, exclusivity taps into very basic human drives.  We’re herd animals – we enjoy inclusion and being privy to something special, and those emotions can quickly be converted into loyalty and advocacy.  We want people around us to know we’re part of this magical experience, both to bond with our fellow participants and to badge our selves with a sort of ‘in the know’ cool.

Of course, not every brand lends itself to this kind of ‘popularity through secrecy’ approach, especially those that can’t rely on the impact of the live experience.  Practical, non-experiential and non-luxury items such as say, household cleaner, rely on candidness, transparency and cold hard facts to make their product stand out in a sea of competitors.

But Apple is proof that you don’t need lots of stunts to make consumers feel special.  Its carefully – some might say anally – controlled flow of information is absolutely key to the cult.  The ultimate Generation Y brand, Apple doesn’t have a blog, Twitter account or Facebook page.

 

Yet by revealing so little Apple all but guarantees that every announcement it makes is met with fevered global excitement and advocacy.

So how might you be able to drive demand with a bit of social scarcity? What assets, information or experiences might you be able to withhold, tease or stagger to generate that sense of privileged camaraderie? Don’t forget: silence can be one of your most powerful tools in harnessing word of mouth.

The case for the apostrophe

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Waterstone’s was founded by Tim Waterstone. It’s his chain. Hence the possessive apostrophe that indicates ownership. To remove it is to remove ownership (OK, he doesn’t own it anymore, but you know what I’m getting at). To remove it is an affront to the English Language. To remove it is to offend everyone who has ever written a sentence correctly.

Apostrophe – unemployed

To have a new Wiki is an admission that we have failed. ‘We’ being the proponents of the correct usage of the English language. The excuse tripped out by the chain is that the change will ‘simplify internet searches and email’. Balls. It’s just. Plain. Lazy. It’s kowtowing to the kids who can’t be bovvered to learn the rules. What happened to the three R’s? They only ever appear now when I scream ‘Arrrgh!’ at seeing another erosion of the language like this one. What happened to educating children? Where did this ‘attitude’ come from? I hate it.

To be fair, the High Street is already sending mixed signals – see Boots (founded by J.Boot) vs. McDonald’s (founded, as we all know by one Ronald McDonald – son of an old guy who had a farm). *And* as my hippy tutor at Uni used to say: ‘Language is a free-running river’, so as a grumpy old man I should adapt and move on.  But I can’t. Presumably every Waterstone’s (I refuse to drop it!)  has books on the shelves whose sole purpose is to inform the reader about correct grammar and the use of the apostrophe….is this going to cause a paradox and make the Universe collapse in on itself? Well no, but it begs an interesting question. Is someone going to go through all those books with a black marker and erase the apostrophe chapters?

So to all those children (and several adults) who refuse to use the apostrophe correctly I say ‘Meh’. I use and always will use the English language in the correct form. The rest of you are Dummies.

Is social media marketing to children ethical?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

You may have seen on the news that the government has commissioned Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of charity Mother’s Union, to chair an independent review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood in Britain. Part of the review will involve looking at the impact of social media, brand ambassadors and “online marketing to children” in accelerating the process.

We’ve always been known for our very strong ethical stance on word of mouth, so it’s been great to discuss this with BBC Radio 4, who are going to be considering the review on World at One.

We recently produced a big piece of research for a media client on teenagers; we participate in academic debates around digital and kids; and our family brand specialist Carrie spends her time investigating the most effective and ethical family WOM strategies, so we feel we have a pretty good grounding in the issue.

We avoid engaging directly with kids – we see the ethics as simply too fragile. Our age limits are 16 for trials and 18 for events, and whenever clients approach us to talk about reaching out to children through word of mouth, we help them find alternative routes through communities, parents and schools.

This is equally, if not more successful – we’re targeting the purse holders after all, and kids simply aren’t ready to develop long term brand advocacy. What they experience at a young age may set up many of their future loyalties, but in that case we’ll help brands simply listen to what they want, and then work on their product development, packaging, retail strategy and so on to ensure that they’re offering is so damn great and relevant, the kids will love it enough to want to continue to use the brand now and then engage with them directly when they grow up.

This isn’t to say we outright condemn any word of mouth directly targeting teens – Random House’s Random Buzzers Teen Community for books is a nice example of a carefully moderated campaign. It’s just the way we choose to approach it.

What do you think?

Asking tough questions about social media

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Last week I took part in a brilliantly bracing panel debate at Polis, the LSE’s new media arm, alongside Michael Pranikoff, Director of Emerging Media at PR Newswire, Tomas Gonsorcik, Head of Strategy at Interaction London and chair Polis Director Charlie Beckett.

The Social Media Reality Check focused on winnowing the effective and long-lasting from the myths and hype in the social space, but I don’t need to rehash the specific topics that we covered – from measurement to investment to authenticity – because the inimitable Joanne Jacobs live blogged the whole thing here. It’s worth a read, as the audience members brought up many of the key worries and challenges that brands face as social becomes a ‘must-do’. But before you click through, here’s a quick snapshot of the event:

Any questions or opinions on what I said? Fire away.

Don't be an ass

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Picture the scene. A mangy, decrepit, hungry, exhausted ass (careful with that imagery) is dragging its sorry carcass along a dusty track.

via greg westfall @ Flickr

Suddenly, the ass espies a huge pile of grain on one side of the road. It can’t believe its eyes. Then it notices an equally large pile on the other. It nearly faints with excitement. It’s desperate for food.

But which pile does it choose?

Asses have little or no capacity to reason. And theoretically, given two perfectly equal and attractive choices, it is impossible for the ass to pick one or the other.

Instead, our poor ass, baffled, befuddled and confused, is torn between the two. It stands and stares – it cannot decide. Eventually the last lifeblood ebbs away and the ass collapses, a victim of logic.

A cheery tale.

But one that, in the midst of all the thinking, and case studies, and research, and complexities around word of mouth that we cover on the 1000heads blog, reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place.

The point being, if there was a discernable difference between the two piles, if one was more attractive than the other, the ass would have been fine. It would have been able to make an informed choice. As it was, the ass was akin to an ill-informed consumer, with no reason to choose one option over the other.

Of course, even without information, we (as consumers) are capable of making choices – we are not asses. But the more information we have, the more reason to choose one brand, product or service over another, the better.

And the more reasons there are to choose that particular brand, product or service, the more stimuli for word of mouth there are. And that is how information and recommendation are spread. That is how and why someone will choose your pile of grain over your competitors’.

Make your offering different. Generate word of mouth. Help people make a choice.

Don’t be an ass. Don’t treat your potential customers like asses, either.

Don’t be an ass

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Picture the scene. A mangy, decrepit, hungry, exhausted ass (careful with that imagery) is dragging its sorry carcass along a dusty track.

via greg westfall @ Flickr

Suddenly, the ass espies a huge pile of grain on one side of the road. It can’t believe its eyes. Then it notices an equally large pile on the other. It nearly faints with excitement. It’s desperate for food.

But which pile does it choose?

Asses have little or no capacity to reason. And theoretically, given two perfectly equal and attractive choices, it is impossible for the ass to pick one or the other.

Instead, our poor ass, baffled, befuddled and confused, is torn between the two. It stands and stares – it cannot decide. Eventually the last lifeblood ebbs away and the ass collapses, a victim of logic.

A cheery tale.

But one that, in the midst of all the thinking, and case studies, and research, and complexities around word of mouth that we cover on the 1000heads blog, reminds us why we’re doing this in the first place.

The point being, if there was a discernable difference between the two piles, if one was more attractive than the other, the ass would have been fine. It would have been able to make an informed choice. As it was, the ass was akin to an ill-informed consumer, with no reason to choose one option over the other.

Of course, even without information, we (as consumers) are capable of making choices – we are not asses. But the more information we have, the more reason to choose one brand, product or service over another, the better.

And the more reasons there are to choose that particular brand, product or service, the more stimuli for word of mouth there are. And that is how information and recommendation are spread. That is how and why someone will choose your pile of grain over your competitors’.

Make your offering different. Generate word of mouth. Help people make a choice.

Don’t be an ass. Don’t treat your potential customers like asses, either.