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A Social Summer Round Up

Monday 1st September, this can only mean one thing, summer is coming to an end. Although we may have a few more days left of sunshine and flipflops, if we’re really honest with ourselves we know that weekends filled with Pimms and picnics will soon be a thing of the past. It’s now time to welcome back the cosy night in, the never ending bottles of red wine and most importantly, the winter wardrobe.

But before we forget about summer completely, I thought it would be a great time for a quick round-up. What events helped shaped the summer of 2014, which app was the ‘must have’ of the season and what crazes took over our news feeds? It’s time for the 2014 summer social wrap-up.

1. The World Cup

First let’s cast our minds back to June to the single most talked about social media event ever, the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Our post back in July showcased the embarrassing thrashing Brazil got from Germany, which was the most tweeted single sporting game ever with 35.6 million tweets. There are many more social highlights from the month long football frenzy, and thanks to the lovely people at Hootsuite who tracked the top social media moments using uberVU, we can see just what had people’s fingers going during the matches:

  • - The #WorldCup hashtag was used a total of 24 million times during the World Cup, 99.2% of those mentions on Twitter with 68% of these tweets in English

  • - Top 3 countries for hashtag mentions—1) US (23% of total), 2) UK (9%), 3) Indonesia (6%)

  • - June 12th (opening day with Brazil vs. Croatia) was the most active day for hashtag mentions: 1.6 million mentions, closely followed by the closing day with 1.3 million mentions

  • - 22,000 blog posts were created with #WorldCup hashtag included

  • - Lionel Messi was the most talked about player with 363,000 mentions, Brazil’s Neymar a close 2nd with 316,000 mentions

  • - McDonalds was the most talked about brand during the World Cup with 2.8 million mentions, Budweiser was 2nd with 280,000 mentions.

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These are only a few of the top stats thats came out of the world cup, but it just goes to show what a huge impact social had on the games. For all 42 social stats check out the official Hootsuite blog.

2. Selfies

It all starts with a smartphone tilted at 45 degrees, followed by the perfect “I’m not posing” pose, finished with the most flattering filter you can find and voila, your #selfie is complete.

OK, so I know selfies didn’t start this summer, but in my eyes this summer was when the selfie really changed. Not only is it filling-up your news feeds but brands have eventually clocked on to the fact that all this fan generated content could actually be a gold mine for them and their social campaigns.

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In July we posted a blog about the benefits and dangers of user generated content (UGC) after the rather unfortunate Vanish Tip Exchange campaign went very very wrong. Although the Vanish campaign showcased a bad example, adopting UGC into the heart of product marketing campaigns works, and works very well. But in order for it to succeed, you do have to have a  layer of curation and moderation in place.

Sony created an interesting infographic that we posted in July that featured some great stats on the rise of the selfie, take a look. Who knows how long this craze will be here for but start taking advantage of it now. If you start to put your fans and your advocates at the heart of your marketing campaigns you will go far.

3. Disappearing Photos

Who knew a picture that lasts no more than a few seconds would be such a hit? Is it the excitement of not knowing what you may receive, the creativity of being able to add some badly drawn glasses to your face, the picture not saving automatically to your photo stream or just simple because it’s not Facebook? Whatever the reason, everyone has jumped on the bandwagon off the ‘ephemeral photo’.

We all know we have market leaders in the space, but others have also tried their hand at the new craze, all bringing a slightly different approach. Facebook’s Slingshot app that was released this June goes down the road of curiosity. The photo sharing app won’t let users see a photo that’s been sent to them until they respond with another photo, and the Slingshot photos can be revisited until the recipient deletes the feed.

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Then there is the Instagram version, Bolt, which is really very similar to the more established players, Snapchat and Taptalk. Like the other smart photo apps, Bolt simply lets you quickly send a photo (or video) to a friend, which then disappears once it’s been read. The main difference from what I can see is that Bolt does have a very pretty UI and there are a few more options on how to send a video and a photo.

Facebook seem to be determined to crack into this market, but with the news last week that Snapchat was valued at $10billion after receiving investment  from one of the most powerful Silicon Valley investors, Snapchat is a clear winner. And users of the app do not seem to be slowing down, as of May 2014, users were viewing over 1 billion stories and sharing more than 700 million snaps per day, up from just 350 million in October.

It will be very exciting and see what happens in this space over the next year, where will disappearing photos be in the summer of 2015? How much do we think Facebook will offer young Evan Spiegel for his little Ghostface Chillah? I guess keep sending your 3 second photos to find out.

4. Hyperlapse

Leaving the best until last, in my eyes anyway is Hyperlapse. Instagram’s latest app which quite simple turns footage stored on your smartphone into time-lapse videos, without requiring any expensive equipment. It is simple, creative, neat and most importantly it’s a really useful app!

On the official blog post announcing the release Instagram said, ‘We designed Hyperlapse to be as simple as possible. You don’t need an account to create a hyperlapse. Instead, you open up straight to the camera. Tap once to begin recording and tap again to stop. Choose a playback speed that you like between 1x-12x and tap the green check mark to save it to your camera roll. You can share your video on Instagram easily from there.’

It really is that easy, and it didn’t take long for marketers to try their hand at being a film producer. Within hours big brands such Mountain Dew, Footlocker, budlight and Mercedes USA were all experimenting and creating clever marketing videos for their fans.

If you’re yet to download it, make it your app of the week and get filming. It’s amazing how much fun speeding up a video can really be! I mean, who doesn’t want to see Jimmy Fallon, host of “The Tonight Show,” downing a massive slice of cake in about four seconds.

All in all summer 2014 has been a pretty ambitious and rewarding summer. Technology has yet again surprised me with what it can do and there is definitely no sign of it slowing down.  So now summer’s a wrap, bring on the 2015 predictions. What will yours be?

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

 

 

60 Seconds With…

At the beginning of this month we kicked off our ’60 second with’ series, an ongoing Q&A to help you understand the team behind the platform. For our second instalment we jump over the pond and take a visit to our New York office to have a quick chat with Dave, our very tall Client Services Engineer. So grab a tea, or I guess a coffee would be more suitable in this case, and learn a little more about Dave.

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Can you round up in a few sentences who you are and what you do at EngageSciences? 

I’m Dave. I’m tall but I hang out with much shorter people and they’ve never said a word about it. I live in Brooklyn and write Javascript all the livelong day. I love iced coffee but recently the caffeine rush has become too great.

When going to a ‘when I was younger I wanted to be’ party what would be your outfit of choice?

Probably a ninja… or a turtle… or both. Teenage preferably.

What is your favourite feature of the EngageSciences platform?

The ease of setting up campaigns. In 10 minutes you can have a fully functioning contest up and running on Facebook or your own website.

Is there one piece of work that you are most proud of?

Probably Warpaint for the UFC. It combined a lot of different mechanics like capturing from mobile cameras and allowing users to draw over pictures using HTML5 canvas.

List three of your must have apps:

MiniHack, Spotify, Imgur Browsr

Favorite snackage?

Tortilla Chips and any kind of dip. I once had a dip party for my birthday. Dips galore!

More importantly, favourite tipple?

Some sort of pilsner, or any cocktail that is completely ridiculous and expensive.

What could you not live without?

Has anyone said ‘air’?

If you were a brand what would you be?

Casio

Favourite Quote?

Live slow, die whenever.

And finally, marmite, love it or hate it?

I’m convinced that marmite is a joke on people visiting the UK. I don’t think anyone actually eats it over there. They just keep that one jar around forever for when people visit.

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

 

WEBINAR: The Final Flames. Your Last Chance to Replace Wildfire

In social marketing time travels fast, new platforms get developed, internet fads come and go, companies get acquired. And, like many young relationships, companies get dumped. It has now been four months since Google put out its Wildfire and extinguished their 20 month relationship with the social software platform. Even in that short space of time a lot (and I mean a lot) has changed in the social marketing landscape.

So, Wildfire customers have come to the end of their journey. Whilst they’re clearly going to need a new platform, the fundamental changes happening in the market mean that a straight swap just won’t suffice. With an explosion of user generated content, new social networks and messaging apps on the block, and the new emphasis brands are placing on socialized websites, marketers need a platform that has been specifically engineered to take advantage of these changes across mobile, web and social channels.

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Join us on 4th September (12am ET / 5pm BST) as we look into the not so distant future of social marketing. No longer is it as straightforward as simply ‘getting more likes’ on your Facebook page, particularly as news feed algorithm changes happen on a regular basis. Brands need to understand how to turn unknown fans into known visitors, how to use campaigns to drive website traffic and, most importantly, how to maximize engagement levels and drive marketing results. The list could go on, but instead of me boring you any further, tune into our webinar with our Americas President, Rich Gascoyne to really understand how to integrate social with your other digital marketing, and ultimately drive your ROI.

Webinar Details

The Final Flames: Your Last Chance to Replace Wildfire

DATE:

Thursday 4th September

TIME:

12pm  ET/ 5pm BST

SPEAKER:

Rich Gascoyne
President of Americas

Rich is the President of EngageSciences and is responsible for the business in the Americas. He has more than two decades of experience in digital, working in consultancies and software companies. He has grown EngageSciences from the beginning to be one of the fastest growing marketing software companies in the US/Americas in recent years, with clients across the US, Canada, Mexico, Chile and others, including industry leaders like Microsoft, Spotify, Verizon, and Universal. Rich is the author of a strategic digital planning book called “Corporate Internet Planning Guide” and has been on radio and spoken at numerous conferences.

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FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

Photo (cc) Darren Harvey

What will your verse be?

O me, O life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

These famous words, originally penned by Walt Whitman and so powerfully uttered by the recently departed Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society, have the ability to inspire. These words resonate – whether we have read the poem, seen the film, or been exposed to Apple’s most recent ipad advert - because they bring into sharp perspective our place in the World and the unique role we can play.

Perhaps the best demonstration of this underlying sentiment comes when Robin William’s character in Dead Poets, having read out the above, begs the following question:

‘What will your verse be?’

In the social media age we are publicly, and quite literally, adding lines to our verse. On countless social channels we all have the opportunity to express ourselves as never before, express our opinions, thoughts and emotions. These articulations are mainly driven by the World around us, the things we see, experience and consume. It is an inevitable consequence therefore that some of these small verses, be they 140 characters in length, or an instant photograph with added filters, refer to and are directed at the brands that construct our surroundings. Some of these verses will thus refer to and be directed at YOUR own brand. Not convinced? Think of some search terms relating to your organisation, type these into Twitter and see what comes up. You may well be surprised.

At EngageSciences it is one of our main goals to ensure that these positive remarks being made about your brand, across the social web, are collated, curated and displayed. We want to integrate these fan-to-brand interactions with your other public offerings, creating a more authentic and representative experience for your advocates, putting them back at the heart of what you do. In our Advocacy area we look to bring together the remarks of all those who are contributing to the story, the consumers who are discussing your present, and whom will likely shape your future.

We can either achieve the above through the creation of Social Hubs or by integrating our Social Content API. The power of Social Hubs is the flexibility they offer. You have control over their look, feel and the way social content is displayed, building them out on the EngageSciences platform and dropping them onto your webpage via an iframe.

With the Content API brand managers can be provided with a social feed of all published material, brought into the Advocacy area from Twitter, Youtube, & Instagram etc, and have it feature on their website in any way they see fit.

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In the past few months we have overseen the construction of several fantastic Social Hub projects that have really attempted to tap into the publics collective consciousness surrounding an event, product launch, or overall brand sentiment. If you are fortunate to have a product/service that people are passionate about, or have created a marketing activation that has inspired individuals into action online don’t take this for granted and loose their contribution. Harness it as fully as you can, add the verses they are contributing to your brands overall narrative.

As part of the build up to this year’s FA Cup Final, players from one of the teams were shown all the fan tweets from a nervous yet expectant set of supporters. It reminded them that theirs isn’t just a normal job; it is a community role of immense privilege and responsibility. Goers of Royal Ascot 2014 got to feel part of Britain’s sporting summer as they interacted with the event and found their messages and fascinators appearing on the main Ascot website. Followers of Microsoft Mobile’s Mission 31 were made to feel that they were a member of Fabien Cousteau’s team of Aquanauts, seeing their messages of good will appearing alongside the crews social posts and updates on the progress of this incredible feat of human endurance. These are just a few examples we have.

It is important to highlight that when brands successfully integrate a layer of social advocacy fans can feel reconnected with the products and services they use, with organisations being served a powerful remember of why they were successful in the first place.

With the addition and contribution of many new versus the powerful play goes on.

Dedicated to the memory of Robin Williams, it may not be quite what he had in mind but that was our move, chief.

JULIAN BRACEY-DAVIS, SENIOR CUSTOMER SUCCESS MANAGER

But How Will I Get Someone To “Like” Me?

Facebook recently made another change to their policies that affect something we’ve all become very accustomed to; like-gating. For those not in the know, like-gating is where a brand requires a visitor to like a page or app to take part in a competition or promotion. And, when it was introduced just over two years ago, brands quickly embraced like-gating as a way of trading a “like” for the promise of some value. However, in many cases this tactic just created followers who immediately un-followed after entering a competition or just weren’t engaged beyond the first interaction.

Facebook-LIke-Gates

According to Facebook’s new policy, this tactic can no longer be used to incentivize people to like your app’s page. Whilst like-gates will continue to work for older apps, they won’t work for any new apps, and will stop working for ALL apps in 90 days.

So, will this change affect brands adversely, or is it long overdue?

Looking through the eyes of the consumer, a like-gate can be seen as a cheap trick to acquire fan numbers. It’s basically asking for something of value before you provide anything in return, which in the end may or may not have any tangible value. So, not exactly best practice, and it can easily affect confidence in your brand if they end up having a poor experience.

It’s also worth noting that, as Facebook continues to grow, it’s paramount for their business that they’re continually adding value to users consuming their newsfeed, as opposed to merely disrupting them with promotions or ads. It’s a tough balance for them to achieve with the avalanche of content out there and so many brands trying to get in front of those all-important eyeballs. So their algorithm has changed to reduce the organic reach of brands and paid ads act as a throttle (as well as bringing in revenue) to keep the newsfeed useful and relevant. Otherwise all of its users would desert it and go somewhere else. That clearly isn’t happening. 

In this context, like-gates don’t fit into Facebook’s master plan. So brands have to work harder to provide content that is truly engaging and delivers experiences that get traction and desired actions from their audiences. (One might suggest this should always be the role of marketing…) Whilst like-gates are a cheap mechanic to gather likes, it’s the shares, invites and referrals that come off the back of compelling experiences that represent the true value in the network for brands and ultimately bypass the newsfeed algorithm.

If brands concentrate on great experiences that people will share and don’t rely on just like gates to acquire new audience members, they may find the uptick in entries balances out the loss of the forced ‘likes’. You can still give people more chances to win for getting their friends to enter, you can benefit from that virality as normal. Plus you could have a selection of the latest stories, or people’s reactions from multiple social channels on the confirmation page of the competition, under a big ‘like’ call to action. Fans acquired in this way are less likely to un-follow the brand, as they’ve chosen rather than been forced to like the page.

However, if brands are still concerned about gathering likes, they can change their current approach to managing competitions. There is the option (according to Facebook’s previous changes to its promotions rules) to say the winner will be announced on the brand’s timeline. You can then suggest that entrants likes the page in order to receive updates on the competition, news on other competitions (only available to fans) and of course more great content from your brand.

The reality is most brands have stopped chasing likes some time ago. That era of social marketing has ended. The focus has shifted to getting more value from the fans you have. One of our customers is one of the big four UK football clubs and their main focus is to turn unknown fans into known entities within their CRM system, through using apps to collect the information and permissions to sign them up as ‘Digital Members’ of the club. Once a fan is a known entity they can monetize them overtime.

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Facebook’s not the only gig in town

Times are changing, and a growing proportion of EngageSciences customers rely less on Facebook for follower acquisition. The follower acquisition race is not over of course, it has just moved on to other networks like Twitter and Instagram that don’t have a newsfeed algorithm that continually reduces your ability to reach the followers you have. Our customers are now federating campaigns beyond Facebook onto microsites, on websites via embedded apps and activating consumers in networks like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & VK. Ultimately, their website is becoming the hub of their social activity and Facebook is just one of the many spokes. This approach enables them to get a much broader reach, amass a variety of user-generated content and to grow their loyal followers across multiple channels. The proliferation of social channels and what this means for the future of websites as a destination fit for the social consumer is one of the most exciting things in digital marketing today.

MICHAEL WRIGLEY, CMO

Michael Wrigley

What Can You Do In 60 Seconds…

The answer obviously is meet one of our awesome team members! From musicians to swing dancers, athletes to rappers, here at EngageSciences we’re a diverse and lively bunch. We may differ on some things, the company Spotify playlist and whether to order smooth or crunchy peanut butter in the weekly shop (crunchy always wins hand down) but we do have one thing in common, we all feel pretty awesome about what we deliver for our clients on a daily basis. As our technology develops so does the team, with more than 50 staff spread over 5 offices around the world we thought it was about time you met some of them.

So without further ado I would like to introduce you to Julian, the first victim of our 60 seconds with series, enjoy.

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Can you round-up in a few sentences who you are and what you do at EngageSciences?

Hello questionnaire. My name is Julian and I’m a Senior Customer Success Manager at EngageSciences – an SCSM @ ES if you will. My job is to make sure our clients get the very best and most out of the platform. Coming from a more traditional/digital advertising background, I like to describe my role as Account Manager meets Planner.

WHEN GOING TO A ‘WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I WANTED TO BE’ PARTY WHAT WOULD BE YOUR OUTFIT OF CHOICE?

I missed the invite to this? When did you send it? I would either come as a Spaceman, Footballer, Indiana Jones or the Cookie Monster.

What is your favourite feature of the EngageSciences platform?

I’m all about the social hubs – I love a good social hub me. As I am fortunate to work with brands that have a strong following and social presence, people are often already talking about them (in mostly a good way) online. Being able to bring in, curate and then display this pre-existing fan content is brilliant – said with ‘Fast Show’ sketch enthusiasm. With the additional In-network features, we can now also open our social walls to feature UGC entries from around the social web. Have I sold this well enough? #Winning

Is there one piece of work you’re most proud of?

The sporting inspired social hubs linked to the FA Cup Final and Royal Ascot are my personal favourite pieces of work. This year I have also been proud to be part of the team that worked on a couple of incredible projects with Microsoft Mobile; namely Mission 31 and Red Bull Photography.

List three of your must have apps:

Spotify, Strava, Tinder…

Favorite snackage?

Apple and/or banana

More importantly, favourite tipple?

Beer: Moretti / Doombar

Cocktail: Old Fashioned / Sazerac

What could you not live without?

My lungs and heart.

Apart from vital organs, probably my bicycle.

If you were a brand what would you be?

Brand Bill Murray! The man, the myth, the legend! Effortlessly cool, great brand awareness, loyal following and with a great tone of voice i.e. clever, pithy witty and sarcastic. I wish.

Favourite Quote?

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

And finally, Marmite, love it or hate it?

Lover not a hater.

Was that over 60 seconds?!

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

Instagram Bolt – Lightning or a Flash in the Pan?

Today Instagram announced the launch of Bolt, their Snapchat “killer”… And whilst its launch was accidentally leaked via an ad in Instagram last week, there are some questions about what Facebook and Instagram are trying to achieve with its launch. Surely, it’s not just sour grapes at Snapchat’s refusal to accept Facebook’s eye-wateringly large offer of $3 billion

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Initially available in Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand, Instagram’s first standalone app enables users to send instant photos and videos to their friends and family at the single touch of a button. Apparently, the chosen countries are good test subjects as they mirror major markets like USA in terms of demographics, language, technology penetration and approach to social sharing. Once the users receive the messages the content disappears once it has been read. Sound familiar? However, the emphasis (hence the name) is on speed.

IS THERE SPACE IN THE MARKET?

Didn’t Instagram get the memo that photo and video sharing is an extraordinarily crowded market place? Whilst they have the muscle of Instagram behind them (and we have already discovered it will be promoted through the Instagram app), they need to compete with established players like Vine, Snapchat, Taptalk and Mirage. In addition, there are already a bunch of technologies in the Facebook stable including Messenger, Groups, Instagram Direct, Paper and WhatsApp (if the deal closes) that potentially compete with Bolt.

Facebook Slingshot

In addition, Facebook launched Slingshot (shown above) last month that offers much of the functionality featured in Bolt – but you can send to many people (instead of just one at a time with Bolt) and it makes you send a photo before you can view the one you’ve just received. So, both private and ephemeral sharing apps, but with very different use cases.

The fact that Instagram has launched Bolt certainly illustrates the fact that Instagram is operating autonomously from Zuckerberg’s behemoth. For example Bolt doesn’t include a Facebook log-in and instead syncs contacts from your contact list. And, if Bolt succeeds, it does appear to compliment Instagram’s other products.

BUT, WILL IT SUCCEED?

If you put all of the competing apps up against each other, Bolt appears to mimic a whole bunch of features in Taptalk and Mirage, such as using images of your contacts as the camera shutter. But, Instagram doesn’t see a fundamental issue with this approach and they certainly won’t have a problem eclipsing the growth of these small players (especially when Bolt is promoted to all Instagram users in their feeds). One of Instagram’s spokespeople underlined their approach. ”When Instagram itself launched four years ago, we weren’t the first photo filter app. Our tradition is that we look at a space and create a super simple, pretty experience to fit it.”  So, take the best of your competitors and then back it up with loads of marketing expenditure…

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Let’s see what happens to Bolt over the coming months in the test markets and what improvements Instagram makes to ensure it’s successful. Only time will tell if this lightweight, fast, one-to-one messaging service will succeed with the full force of Instagram behind it. However, in the long term it will only succeed if there’s clear value to the end user that they can’t already get in other established apps. One thing’s for certain, as Instagram Platform Developers we’ll be keeping a very close eye on developments and looking at ways for our customers to take advantage of Bolt.

MICHAEL WRIGLEY, CMO

Michael Wrigley

 

Social Marketing Infographics – Five of the Best

Infographics, everyone loves them and what’s not to love? In a world where we suffer from information overload what’s not to like about being able to digest a huge amount of information in very little time? Almost 50% of our brains are involved in visual processing and when it comes to images, people recall 80% of what they see compared to only 20% of what they read.

So let’s face it, your brain craves infographics, those pretty little images, icons and graphs that are easy to digest and stay firmly in your mind. So to treat those creative heads of yours, we’ve picked-out five of the best social marketing infographics.

1. 10 Surprising Social Media Facts

First up are some social media facts thanks to the lovely people at Main Street Host. Everyone loves a statistic and what better way to showcase them than in a pretty inforgraphic. Check out the 10 essential social media facts below and try to take them into account when planning your next social campaign.


10 Surprising Social Media Facts

Courtesy of: Mainstreethost

2. Miles Apart: How Women and Men use Social Media and Mobile

Men and women, we differ in so many ways but thanks to Finances Online we can now see how we are different on social media. The below infographic just proves that if you are not doing it already, you need to start to target genders based on their social behaviour. Take a look and get some tips.

Social Media and Mobile Phone Analysis: FinancesOnline.com Reviews Why Men Look For Business & Love While Women Seek Games & Knowledge

Courtesy of: FinancesOnline

3. The Surprising Words That Get Content Shared

The power of words, they have the potential to drive decisions and are much more persuasive than you think. Thanks to the clever people at Quicksprout we can now understand which words to use and which words to avoid when sharing content on social.

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Courtesy of:  Quicksrprout

4.  7 Social Media Marketing Trends

The gang at Social Media Examiner have pulled together an awesome infographic that illustrates some key findings from a recent report they did which highlighted some of the newest social media trends for marketers.

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Courtesy of: Social Media Examiner

5. The Rise of the Selfie

I could not resist finishing on an infographic highlighting the new craze, selfies. The image below, which has been released by Sony in conjunction with their Xperia C3 PROSelfie smartphone, looks into the history of the new craze, some facts and figures, the top selfie styles and the all important retouching process. Have a read and pick up some tips for yourself.

Sony Xperia Selfie smartphone infographic

Courtesy of Sony

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

Five Great Examples of Socialised Web Experiences

It’s no secret that social content has exploded. Your fans are always on and are always talking about you. Social chatter goes on 24 x 7 and it’s up to you to be able to keep up with it.

What is a secret however is how brands can use all this social content to engage users and drive sales. Now, if you promise not to tell anyone we may let you into our little secret. Are you ready? Promise to keep it to yourself? Ok then, here it goes…no longer is your Facebook page your primary social destination – your website should be!

The nature of websites are changing. They need to be destinations fit for the social consumer, that are deeply connected to marketing tactics that are cross channel, driving traffic from a deeply social and mobile audience.

It may sound simple and the truth is, it really is. All the content is there, credible, authentic content, all you have to do is find it, curate it, and publish it into a social experience on your webpage. To give you some inspiration we have showcased five great examples of some social hubs and website experiences.

Arsenal #StrongerTogether

ARSNEL FINAL FINAL

RedBull and Nokia #LumiaXRedBullPhotography

RED BULL FINAL FINAL

Vodafone #FamousCup

VOD FINAL FINAL

Air New Zealand #AirNZShareMe

AIR FINAL JEPAG

Powershop #BakeFails

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As you can see, social hubs are a great way of delivering social content generated by advocates, consumers and the broader community. They can be used to feature owned content, product information, ratings and reviews, relevant links to e-commerce, and competitions that drive onward engagement and data capture.

Why not use these social hub examples as inspiration to finally create that website experience you have always wanted for your brand, you know your brand is ready for it. And once you are done, simple sit back and enjoy more traffic, higher conversion rates, increased dwell time and a really really awesome looking site.

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

The Future’s Bright. The Future is Still Social Media Marketing

The obsession with social media, the importance of updating your Facebook status with the perfect one-liner to sum up your night, adding the perfect filtered Instagram picture to make you look better than you normally do and tagging your 10 mates to only realise you left one out and having to start all over again. Whatever happened to a simple night out with a good old-fashioned click-camera, 25 shots and you’re done ‘til you remember to buy another roll of film.

This never-ending activity around social and the growing obsession just reinforces marketers’ push to increase their social media spend in order to expand their brand visibility. But when it comes to budgets, what is the hot pick for digital marketers, what really turns them on, where do their priorities lie and what does the future look like for social marketing platforms?

According to new research by Gigaom, social media marketing budgets are still increasing at speed and show no signs of slowing down. The survey, which covered a few hundred digital marketers, looked into the big spenders in the marketing space. Those with the million-dollar plus budgets compared to those with a smaller marketing budget and what was important to each of them.

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Source: Gigaom Research Digital Marketers Survey, 2Q14, n = 300

Looking at the graph above, it’s no surprise that social marketing came out top when it comes to the platforms those with big budgets regularly use, at eighty three per cent it is clearly top dog. It is however followed closely by the rest of the digital tactics, clearly showing that those who have the luxury of big budgets tend to try out every trick in the book. For the little guys it’s email marketing, SEO and of course the winner of the day, social media marketing that are all taking a leading role.

When it comes to looking at the spend and which area has more of a push there’s a clear winner. More than half of those with big bucks to spend said their social media marketing budgets are going to increase. Thirty five per cent of those with less deep pockets agreed, with content marketing coming in a close second.

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Source: Gigaom Research Digital Marketers Survey, 2Q14, n = 300

This research just reinforces the importance marketers are placing on social media. Increased brand reach and exposure, more granular ad targeting than on any other channel, better website dwell times, improved search engine rankings, higher overall revenue from socially engaged customers, it has never been more important to use social marketing techniques to get closer to your prospects and customers.

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR

The Benefits and Dangers of UGC

Adopting user generated content (UGC) into the heart of product marketing campaigns is proving to be very popular with a range of consumer brands. And when done well, these brands can use the authentic and credible voices of their consumers to drive advocacy, engagement and commerce.  In fact, research from Nielsen suggests that 92% of consumers trust word of mouth over other forms of advertising. So, it’s a no-brainer to socialize your digital channels with this type of content.

However, using social content to promote your products is not without its dangers… Take the poor people over at Vanish. They’ve put a massive media spend behind the Vanish Tip Exchange and hosted questions, answers and tips from their community of people who are actually interested in removing stains from a variety of household objects (with the main emphasis being that Vanish is the major way to remove most stains). All good so far… But, what happens when people with a different agenda start posting content to the pages hosted on both their website and Facebook?

Vanish Tip Exchange

Well, you get a stream of obscene tips and questions (the least offensive of which are posted above) that will make your average housewife blush, but will certainly provide the type of hilarity (and associated publicity) that wasn’t envisioned at the outset of the campaign. Here’s a quick example from the Daily Mash to illustrate the point 

So, what went wrong? You’d have hoped that when the good people at Vanish were planning this campaign, someone should have said “What happens if people decide to post some unsavoury content?” The reply should have been “Well, we’ll put a layer of curation and moderation in place to ensure that this type of thing doesn’t happen, and we’ll set-up a series of blacklist terms to ensure our sensitive marketers don’t have to review certain words and phrases.” They should have also agreed a process to remove offending content i.e. get it down as quickly as humanly possible. However, it looks like those conversations never happened and Vanish trusted that the polite housewives of middle England would keep it clean… Unfortunately, they were wrong about the content and have (at the time of publishing this blog) still not removed the range of lewd posts.

We understand the benefits and also the dangers of using content from fans to power marketing campaigns. And, we have a large range of customers who feature social content from networks like Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook and Pinterest on their websites, microsites and Facebook pages. However, they use the features of our platform to ensure they can filter, aggregate, review, curate and publish valuable content generated by their advocates, consumers and broader community.

Royal Ascot Social Hub

A recent example from Royal Ascot shows all of the sights, sounds and news from this spectacular race meeting, without allowing mischievous people to post defamatory or offending content. Take a look at it here.  Maybe Vanish should have spoken to us about how to keep it “clean”.

MICHAEL WRIGLEY, CMO

Michael Wrigley

#BRAvGER – Making Sporting & Social History

If Brazil were hoping to forget their embarrassing thrashing from Germany any time soon someone may want to tell them not to turn on any social media today as their dreams maybe over but the social inquest has only just begun.

Poor Brazil, the hosting city, the original golden team of the World Cup have had their biggest World Cup defeat ever after a spectacular 7-1 triumph by Germany. It was the first competitive home defeat in 39 years and I think it’s safe to say there has never been a World Cup semi-final quite like that, and it seems a lot of people agreed.

According to Twitter Data, Twitter’s official source for stats, during last night’s match there were 35.6 million tweets, making the game the most tweeted single sporting game ever! The tweets-per-minute record was also broken when Sami Khedira scored to make it 5-0 Germany. That 29th-minute goal saw the tweeting rate reach 580,166 posts per minute.

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So where were those 580,166 posts per minute coming from? Twitter Data kindly shared an animated gif that shows a world heat map of geo-tagged tweets mentioning key terms around the #BRAvGER game. The gif highlights the key moments in the game, I urge you to check out 17 minutes and 20 seconds in, the beginning of those amazing 6 minutes that saw the score go from Brazil 0 Germany 1, to Brazil 0 Germany 5.

As well as sharing the quantity of tweets, the location and the reach rate, Twitter Data also shared some data on which players were mentioned most during the game. Whether the stats will go onto share the love / hate divide, I am not so sure but I guess it’s safe to say if Miroslav Klose or Toni Kroos need any reassurance today, a small trip to Twitter will keep them going for months, but for you, Julio Caesar, it’s probably best to stay clear for a few days…

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On Monday, before the semi-final had even kicked off, Facebook announced that the 2014 World Cup had already claimed the title of the largest event – sporting or otherwise in Facebook history, with more than a billion Facebook interactions.  Mix that with the Twitter news that the #BRAvGER match was the most tweeted sporting event ever and it just goes to show that the “social media age” is more important than ever and will continue to see record levels of global interactivity.

The sharing of passion, experiences and emotions in not just words but images and videos has never been easier to share on social. There is so much social noise, it’s now more critical than ever for brands to make sure they’re jumping in and using this data to create authentic web experiences for now and for the future.

The world cup may be over on Sunday but the social content around it will last forever and now is the time to take advantage of all that wonderful social buzz. Keeping football in mind, a great example of a team using the social content from their fans in an innovative way is Arsenal FC, who before their big game against Hull City in the FA Cup Final, the players took time out of their busy training schedule to read messages and view images from their fans on a big screen at their training ground.

If Germany need any world-cup winning inspiration for Sunday’s game, I suggest they should do the same!

FRANCESCA HEATH, PR AND EVENTS DIRECTOR