We Are Social Thursday TuneUp #31

by Cai Yu Lam in News

Downstream traffic from Sina Weibo
According to Hitwise data, Sina Weibo plays an important role  in driving downstream traffic to e-commerce websites in China, compared to Facebook and Twitter. 6.5% of Sina Weibo users visit e-commerce websites after visiting Weibo, including daily deal sites, C2C websites like Taobao.com and B2C websites such as 360buy.com. Across all three social media platforms, the top three sites users visit after spending some time on those platforms are other social networking sites, search engines, and online video.

 

Bentley turns to Sina Weibo for focus group poll
Bentley is turning to Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo for input about the design of its EXP 9 F concept for a luxury SUV by creating an app within the Sina Weibo platform called EXPLab that polls users on key elements of the model. The banner above its news feed on its Sina Weibo brand page clicks through to the app, which asks for users’ impressions of the SUV as a whole, posts questions about its interior and engine, and most importantly, if users think it’s a good idea for Bentley to launch the SUV in the first place. Whether or not Bentley will take the feedback seriously remains to be seen, but its followers on Sina Weibo will surely feel engaged and ‘included’ in this process, a much bigger takeaway then the wallpaper for computer and mobile devices they’re given at the end of the poll.

Sina Weibo quells mentions related to the Tiananmen Square protests
In more Sina Weibo news, conversations about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests on 4th June have been censored by Sina Weibo’s ‘rumour control team’. A candle emoticon usually adopted in Tiananmen-related messages has been deactivated, and the Olympic flame symbol used to promote the upcoming Olympic Games in London has suffered the same fate after users responded to the deactivation of the candle emoticon by adopting the Olympic flame symbol as a replacement. Search results relating to “candle”, “six four” which indicates the date June 4th, “23″ which indicates the 23rd year anniversary, “never forget” were prevented from appearing in the search engine within the Sina Weibo site. 

YouTube to host live coverage of Olympic Games
For fans who aren’t able to travel to London to catch the London 2012 Olympic Games live in action, fret not. Google has announced that YouTube will host live coverage of the Games from across 64 territories in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. From July 27 to August 12, millions of people in countries like India, Singapore, Nigeria and Kenya will be able to livestream the upcoming Olympic Games free of charge. In addition to watching ‘highlight clips’ from the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) YouTube channel, fans will have access to over 2,200 hours of HD sporting event coverage from the Games, including all the medal finals.

Twitter use in 2012
Pew have released their latest report on US Twitter usage. The research, which was carried out in February 2012 found that Twitter adoption is still steadily growing:

Consumers create their own social TV experiences
New research has found that up to 61% of US viewers are online whilst watching television – with 51% commenting on social networks, underlining the move to dual-screen viewing.

Pinterest recommendations really do drive sales
According to research from BlogHer, Pinterest influences roughly 50% more active female users of its userbase to make a purchase compared to Facebook or Twitter. It’s easy to over-state the importance of this though: small sites tend to have a more committed userbase who buy into the value of the site.

Customers expect customer service on Facebook
Just in case the overwhelming evidence wasn’t already enough, new research has revealed that 46% of customers expect businesses to offer customer service through their Facebook Page.

Page posts gain parity with user posts, as Facebook embeds Instagram
A Facebook newsfeed redesign which will increase the size of images and text in all Facebook posts will be particularly useful for brand Pages: an update last year saw their posts show up smaller than normal user posts, but this will no longer be the case. Presumably it’s a case of Facebook wanting to increase the size of Page Posts in order to try and drive sales of their Promoted Products. Inside Facebook has a good overview of all the newsfeed changes.

It’s part of a wider drive from Facebook to drive more high-quality image-focused content, and to drive off competition from the likes of Pinterest. Having acquired Instagram, Facebook is trying to make the most of this by testing out a button within the mobile News Feed to drive users to the Instagram app. It’d be surprising if this doesn’t become a permanent feature.

Facebook introduces five tiers of admin roles
Facebook has introduced a series of admin roles with varying admin rights to depend on the role of the admin. Only managers will be able to change the role of different admins, using the menu below:

The permissions for the different roles break down as follows:

Manager Content Creator Moderator Advertiser Insights Analyst
Manage Admin Roles
Edit the Page and Add Apps
Create Posts as the Page
Respond to and Delete Comments
Send Messages as the Page
Create Ads
View Insights

Facebook introduces post scheduling directly from Pages
Facebook page owners can now create posts and schedule them to appear at specific times by using a new feature in the page’s publisher. It means Page admins can now schedule content up to six months in advance.

Facebook adds viral shares to ‘people talking about this metric’
Facebook has added the viral pick-up of posts to its ‘people talking about this’ metric. Going forward, any re-shares, likes and comments on fans’ shared content will be counted in this metric. While this might seem like a small change, it’s had a massive impact on the number of people talking about Pages, as the various graphs from Inside Facebook demonstrate.

Facebook rolls out ‘Promote’ button to more US Pages
Facebook is beginning to roll out a ‘Promote’ button to all US Pages with more than 400 fans. The idea behind it is that admins simply purchase to sponsor a post through the normal Facebook interface – perfect for smaller Pages who might only be spending a few dollars:

It’s apparent that Facebook is trying to create a self-perpetuating system, where all Pages feel the need to buy ads on an on-going basis. If competitors drive greater engagement, Pages will feel they’re missing out; if businesses get used to the greater engagement bought by Sponsored Stories, they won’t want to miss out. Time will tell whether this business model works.

They’re also trying to extend Sponsored Stories to mobile, with one new option for admins whether they want to promote on mobile or just on desktop computers:

Twitter tests age-verification tool for alcohol brands
Twitter is testing a new tool to allow alcohol brands to effectively age-verify their followers:

Here’s how it works: When a fan clicks to follow a brand, he is sent a direct message with a link to a site that asks for date of birth. The user must fill out the form within 24 hours if he wants to follow the brand. Once a user is age-checked once, he does not have to repeat the process when following other booze brands.

It all seems a little pointless though – users can still just lie on the form.

Google+ Local – incorporating Zagat reviews
Google are introducing a more localised element to the user experience on Google+:

From the new “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, you can search for specific places or browse for ones that fit your mood. If you click on a restaurant, or a museum (or whatever), you’ll be taken to a local Google+ page that includes photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people you know, and other useful information like address and opening hours.

Google+ Local is also integrated across other products you already use every day. If you’re looking for a place on Search or Maps, you get the same great local information there too.

According to Google, it’s a great opportunity for businesses as it will help people share and discover local businesses – with the added incentive of Zagat reviews being included, which are well trusted.

Which is all very well, except nobody uses Google Places and very few people use Google+, so folding the two together won’t really increase engagement.

Still, Google have released some pretty videos showing how to see reviews from your friends as well as how to review your favourite places:

Perhaps the best addition is the incorporation of free Zagat reviews – its reviews do hold sway – but it goes back to the same point: that’s not social. Google has to prove that people are using Google+ Local in addition to Zagat and frankly, they won’t be.

Google buys Meebo to bolster Google+
Despite overwhelming evidence that nobody cares anymore about Google+, Google continues to throw money at it. Last week saw Google acquire Meebo for $100 million, apparently to use its developers’ expertise to help build publisher tools for Google+.

Foursquare tease new app set to launch on Thursday
Foursquare plans to launch a new mobile app today on the 7th of June and they’ve teased a few images this week ahead of launch. The map below is very similar to what’s now on the Foursquare website – except (obviously) it will now be on mobile:

Another image Foursquare have released suggests the app will include more ideas on what to do next whilst out and about:

A final image suggests people will be able to review venues without actually checking-in – a positive move as a lot of users don’t want to change their location:

Together, what all the images show is that the new app is going to have a much higher picture quality. It will be interesting to see how it performs.

Foursquare bring AmEx tie-in to the UK
Foursquare has introduced its AmEx tie-in to the UK market, meaning that American Express cardholders can now get a series of discounts by checking in at UK venues.

These include:

  • Bella Italia: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • Café Rouge: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • Eat: Spend £5 or more, get £5 back
  • House of Fraser: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • Nando’s: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • PizzaExpress: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • Primark: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back (excludes concession stores)
  • Strada: Spend £10 or more, get £10 back
  • Tesco: Spend £5 or more, get £5 back

That’s some pretty cheap lunches.

Bitly relaunches with social discovery features and a new app
Bitly relaunched last week with some cool new social features:

Bitly’s new core emphasis is providing users new ways to “easily save, share and discover links,” which are called bitmarks (yes, like bookmarks). Users of the site are able to curate these bitmarks into bundles and “see what friends are sharing across multiple social networks, all in one place.” Bitmarks are instantly searchable and can be made private or public. The same goes for bundles, which can even be collaborated on between friends

In addition, they’ve launched their first iPhone app, which makes sense – as it becomes more social, it needs to become more accessible on the move. It’s a good plan, executed brilliant.ly.

MoneySavingExpert sells for £87 million
After nine years, MoneySavingExpert.com – one of the UK’s biggest social platforms –was sold last week for £87 million.

Instagrammers in demand by major brands
An interesting trend to watch: marketers have started trading perks (cash, trips, gear) in exchange for Instagrams from highly popular users. It’s not innovative except it’s using users who are influential solely on Instagram – rather than bloggers who are also popular on Instagram.

Pepsi and Twitter join together for year-long campaign
Pepsi have come together with Twitter for a cool new campaign called ‘Live for Now Music’:

The program, which has been in the works since late last year, has three aspects and relies heavily on video, both live-streaming and original content. Mr. Bain said the program does not require Twitter to make any updates to its platform.

Pop-up concerts will be held in small venues around the country beginning at the end of June. They will be announced on Twitter one to two weeks in advance and will be streamed live on the platform through the @Pepsi handle. Twitter users will also be able to influence song choices at the concerts.

Twitter highlighted how the top five accounts on Twitter are all musicians, and that’s basically why it’s a perfect partnership: Twitter users love music, and this partnership will give them a lot of it – much of it free.

Visa’s ‘social-by-design’ Olympics campaign launches
With the many difficulties associated with using social media around the Olympics, it’s fair to praise Visa for quite a clever campaign which focuses around cheering:

Visa’s Facebook page will serve as the global hub of the collection of consumer-submitted cheers and athletes’ responses, as well as behind-the-scenes videos of the athletes’ stories and training. Fans can also submit “one-click cheers” online or via mobile on social media including YouTube or through partner sites such as Yahoo and Sports Illustrated. Over the next several months, Team Visa athletes will also reach out to their social networks as de facto Visa cheer ambassadors with stories of how encouragement from fans helps them.

Cheers to that.

Kleenex launches world’s first in News Feed game
Last week we helped Kleenex to launch the world’s first in News Feed game – and it’s really fun to boot.

Panasonic launch digital Face-Painting app for Olympics
Panasonic have launched a digital face-painting app as part of its Olympics marketing activity, which allows users to emblazon their flag onto their social media profile to show which team they are supporting. Without wanting to go out on a limb too much, this could well be the single worst Facebook app we’ve ever seen.

I suppose it comes from all those people who walk around and say they want to put their country’s flag on their face, in their profile picture. Oh.

Littlewoods plans interactive Facebook show
Littlewoods is planning an interactive Facebook show next Wednesday – with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen guiding viewers through upcoming trends, new collections and encouraging live phone-ins and instant messaging. It will be really interesting to see how it goes – and how much it uses the new Facebook Open Graph actions.

Confused.com use YouTube Slam
Confused.com have become the first UK brand to use YouTube Slam – the duelling element of YouTube, which puts one video up against another – to run a competition. Interesting.

Starbucks produce impressive Twitter fail
Starbucks are known for being quite good at social media…but posting about Britishness on an Irish Twitter account is the height of failure.

Wonder if they’ll be writing the name of the person responsible on a cup…

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