Here are all of the posts tagged ‘hashtag’.

We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #76

by Karen Wee in News

Alibaba buys US$586 million stake in Sina Weibo
As part of its push into social media, Alibaba (China’s top e-commerce company) has purchased an 18% stake in Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-esque service with a userbase in excess of 500 million. The deal gives Alibaba the option to increase its stake in Sina Weibo to 30% and is expected to rake in revenue of about US$380 million within the next 3 years. Sina Weibo users can expect more e-commerce offerings in the coming months

Alibaba-stake-in-Sina-Weibo

Line to launch toy smartphone for kids
Japanese chat app, Line, clearly believes in starting young. Shortly after launching its own cartoon series, Line is expected to launch a toy smartphone priced at US$70 on August 8. Using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, children will be able to send stamps and messages when two toy Line phones are in contact.

line-characters

Top brands on social media in ASEAN
Thailand-based social analytics firm, Zocialinc, has released an infographic ranking best-performing brands on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in Southeast Asia. The coverage is largely focused on Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and seems to penalize brands that may not have an active presence on all four networks even though they may be doing very well on their network of choice. The full infographic includes interesting insights into user behaviour on the different social networks.
asean brands infographic 30 Apr

(click through for the full infographic)

Swedish food supplier uses Instagram as Asian food education tool
Want to learn about Asian food? Upload a picture of the dish to Instagram and hashtag #askctfood or tag @AskCTFood and receive details on how to prepare them. The catch? This service is only available in Swedish, as this app was built by Swedish food supplier CT Food.

UK photo sharing users to lose rights to uploaded photos
Changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act has resulted in an overnight loss of rights by amateur and professional illustrators and photographers to work that they’ve uploaded to platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. The Act contains changes UK copyright law which allow commercial use of images deemed “orphan works”, ie. where information identifying the owner is missing. The far-reaching consequences is that millions of photos are at risk since metadata is often stripped from the photos when they’re uploaded. As if that isn’t bad enough, the Act allows for sub-licensing, which allows wholesale of work by someone who has it, without paying the originator a single penny. Penny for your thoughts!

New layout for pages on Facebook mobile
Facebook has updated the way pages appear on mobile, citing a number of benefits for users and page owners. For the former, they note a ‘cleaner, simpler look’, with relevant information such as photos and location positioned alongside interaction buttons at the top of the page. These seem to constitute benefits for page owners too, who will look to benefit from higher engagement as a result of the changes. They’re also set to be provided with the ability to pin important posts and a streamlined management tool. To see how the changes will appear for different users, see the image below:

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 10.13.05

Twitter testing two-factor authentication
Twitter has begun testing two-factor authentication, in a move that looks to prevent a continuation of the high-profile hackings that have happened recently. From the Associated Press to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a number of large, verified accounts have been taken over, posting strange and often embarrassing content. Whilst two-factor authentication would be unlikely to be rolled out universally for the sake of avoiding hassle on smaller, personal accounts, it would likely be a welcome move for brands and public figures. Both Google and Facebook already offer a similar system.

LinkedIn launch ‘Contacts’
LinkedIn have introduced a new service called ‘Contacts’. Essentially, it takes details of contacts from various areas of your phone or computer, including email accounts, calendars and address books and compiles them in one place, allowing you to interact with people more easily and maintain important relationships. The service will be launched both on the LinkedIn platform and as a standalone mobile app. The full details are contained in the following slides:

Tumblr introduce in-stream mobile ads
For the first time, Tumblr will include ads on mobile that look like normal posts. Previously, adverts only appeared in “Radar”, where now mobile users will see up to 4 ads per day in the home stream. With collaborators including GE, Warner Bros and ABC, Tumblr are really set to bulk up their advertising revenue, but claim to be devoted to maintaining the current Tumblr experience. Head of sales Lee Brown has stated that:

This mobile advertising opportunity is native to how our consumers experience content on our apps; as a continuous stream.

Advertised posts will be differentiated from others with a $ symbol. Tumblr have stated that, the move will ultimately expand to desktop, but there is no timeframe given as yet.

Budweiser’s ‘buddy cup’ app
Budweiser’s new campaign looks to play on the emotional connection created by touching cups during a shared beer. Their new ‘buddy cups’ link to Facebook, so that you can become friends with someone on the network by tapping cups with one another. Now when you drunkenly agree to add someone on Facebook, you won’t have until the morning to change your mind.

Nike PHOTOiD and Instagram
For the past few years, Nike iD has allowed create their own, customised clothing from a range of colours. Now, the sportswear brand is taking it one step further, linking with Instagram to launch ‘PHOTOiD’, a tool that designs clothing based on the colours of your favourite Instagram photos. It’s certainly a novel idea and it will be interesting to see the extent to which people are willing to use a system like this. Here are some examples that have already been made:

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 10.34.46

Photograph an advert for free Weetabix biscuits
Weetabix are looking to take advantage of ‘dual screening’ behaviours with their new #takethebiscuit campaign, which asks for fans to take a photograph of their latest TV advert. Fans can then show their picture at a branch of Boots to pick up a free breakfast biscuit. Whilst the idea is an interesting one, it did have a couple of problems. The barrier to entry is quite high and, according to reports, some Boots stores were unaware the campaign was happening. You can see the advert below in all its glory, complete with #takethebiscuit hashtag to encourage Twitter conversation.

We Are Social’s design campaign for Kleenex
We Are Social have launched a competition to design the new Kleenex Box, partnering with internationally-renowned designer Kelly Hoppen to create a brief asking young creative talent to decorate the box in their own style. Using Talenthouse to collect entries, the final decision will then be made by Kleenex’s Facebook community, who will vote on which design gets made into the next tissue box.

Urban Outfitters and Converse’s joint Vine competition
Fashion retailer UO and trainer brand Converse have partnered to produce a competition on Vine, which asks fans to post a video of ‘A day in the life of your Converse’ for the opportunity to win $1500 in UO gift cards, 10 pairs of trainers and 2 different music related trips, in San Francisco and Brooklyn respectively. Whilst a number of brands have started using Vine to produce content, this is one of the first examples of a more in-depth campaign usage.

 

— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) April 17, 2013

 

Guided Twitter tour by the Tate Modern
To highlight a new Roy Lichtenstein exhibition, the Tate Modern produced a guided tour on Twitter. A museum curator spent half an hour tweeting images and information about the artist’s work, allowing those who would be otherwise unable to attend the museum to interact with the content in a meaningful way.

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Evans support ‘golden bikes’ activity on Twitter
UK bike shop Evans Cycles have partnered with record-holding British Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy for a campaign called ‘Hoy’s Golden Bikes’, for which the Olympian has hidden 3 gold coloured bicycles around the country. Whoever finds them can trade one in for a brand new bike of their own, worth £1000. They’re supporting the activity on Twitter, with clues coming both from the official @chrishoy account and via the hashtag #hoyshiddenbikes.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #70

by Karen Wee in News

WhatsApp’s rumoured to launch a games platform
The sleeping giant stirs, if the buzz is anything to go by. Rumour has it that WhatsApp, one of the most popular chat apps worldwide, is in talks with WeMade, a US/Korean games maker for a possible tie-up. If this move materializes, WhatsApp would have effectively diversified its monetization approach while reaping increased revenues and possibly strengthen its dominance in the messaging market. Rival apps such as Japan’s Line and Korea’s KakaoTalk have been very successful with their gaming ventures, clocking in impressive download numbers and revenue. Line reported that its game platform has seen more than 100 million cumulative app downloads within 7 months, a significant number considering that there are 120 million registered users. Line Pop, one of the most popular games out of the 17 titles, had 1 million downloads on the first day and amassed US$1 million (about S$1.25 million) in revenue within the first 12 days of its launch. KakaoTalk’s less forthcoming with figures but data from the 3-month testing period showed that there were 82 million downloads from 23 million unique users out of its 80 million userbase. WhatsApp’s tie-up with WeMade will be a good arrangement as the games maker is strong in both western and Asian markets. In addition, this would give the company another source of revenue. Incidentally, WhatsApp has declared its disdain for advertising and felt that content was the most logical basis for a new revenue stream.

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Fuubo, a new Android Sina Weibo app, is a breath of fresh air
Sina Weibo users on Android have had to contend with clunky apps but that might be changing with a new app in town, Fuubo. Fuubo offers users an aesthetically pleasing interface and intuitive features such as slide panels as well as commenting, reposting and notifications functions. The app’s drawback at the current moment is the lack of direct messaging features and an English interface. Perhaps these will be rolled out in the coming months.

Fuubo-app-for-Weibo

Touchtalent offers creative people an interest-based social network 
What ignites your passion? If you’re an artist, then check out Touchtalent, a social network for the creative community. The brainchild of Ankit Prasad, a student at IIT Delhi, the platform has been online since July 2012 and houses works from artists living in 152 countries. Segregating works into 19 categories that cover calligraphy, sculpting, comics, music and literature in addition to other art genres, the site is integrated with Facebook and has registered more than 8.6 million users. In addition to showcasing works from artists, the site incorporates features that allow artists to sell their work and/or get hired for creative projects. The site also invites users to express their opinion via emoticons and share their work on various social media networks.

Touchtalent_social_network_for_artists-1024x490

IdBlogNetwork, a new social media advertising platform in Indonesia
New Indonesian blog advertising service, IdBlogNetwork, seeks to give Google Adsense a run for its money. They’ve joined forces with The Affiliate Gateway (TAG) Asia to offer Indonesian bloggers a wider range of affiliate marketing alternatives. The company also plans to launch a social media advertising platform named IdBuzzNetwork in April this year. The results aren’t great at the moment as affiliate marketing programs are still in its infancy in Indonesia. However this is expected to improve, as internet penetration and online shopping become more widely accepted within the country coupled with positive word of mouth by bloggers.

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Singapore Telco tests real-time social media marketing
In a refreshing departure from its usual stoic image, Singapore Telecom (SingTel) handed the keys to its Twitter account for a day  to local comedian, Hossan Leong.

ST

Known for his flamboyance and witty sense of humour, followers were asked to tweet situations in which they would need fast 4G internet speeds with the campaign hashtag, #Need4GSpeed. Hossan would then provide sidesplitting responses in the form of tweet replies, pictures and short YouTube videos such as the one below.

Facebook ads on par with TV for FMCG
According to those FMCG brands using Facebook, advertising on the network is as effective as its TV equivalent and offers a better return on investment. Nestle and General Mills both claimed they could trace a high percentage of sales to Facebook advertising after recent cross-platform campaigns; the former attributed 11% of Kit Kat sales to the platform, the latter 27% of Old El Paso.

Gartner’s Digital Marketing Survey
Gartner has published its 2013 Digital Marketing Survey, showing that the top two digital marketing investments for the coming year will be in e-commerce and social media. Indeed, over 40% of the 200 US marketers surveyed stated that social networking, in combination with their corporate website and digital advertising, is key to marketing success.

Gartner

Twitter’s popularity across EMEA areas
Twitter’s popularity varies across EMEA areas, according to a survey by GlobalWebIndex of over 152,000 internet users in 31 markets. It found that 51% of Saudi Arabian internet users are active Twitter users, where ‘active’ is defined as those who have used the service in the past month, followed by 39% in Turkey and 34% in the UAE. Meanwhile, the same study found that the number of global Twitter users has grown from 206 million in Q3 2012 to 288 million in Q4, an increase of 39.8%.

Twitter in the Middle East

How people use Twitter
A report by Brandwatch has produced some interesting findings into how people are currently using Twitter. After compiling data from over 10,000 random tweets, they noted that 62% of these were engagement of some sort, compared to 38% broadcast, while brands were highly prevalent in discussions. 3.6% of all tweets mention brands, amounting to 12,600 tweets per minute. In terms of gender analysis, men were more likely to discuss sport, games and news or politics, while women on average spend more time discussing music, work and education. Women were also more likely to tweet about personal matters, or enter online competitions.

Twitter users forming ‘tribes’
Analysis of millions of tweets has concluded that Twitter users are forming ‘tribes’ online, each with their own unique vocabulary. The theory contradicts the idea that networks like Twitter facilitate global sharing, with the most insular groups sending up to 90% of tweets internally.

Twitter tribes

Social media subject to the same disclosure regulations as traditional media
The Federal Trade Commission has decided that adverts on social platforms must follow the same rules of disclosure as their offline counterparts. This means that, even in a 140-character tweet, space must be devoted to either “promoted” or “ad”. In an update to their 13-year-old “Dot Com Disclosures”, the FTC has argued that consumer protection laws should apply equally regardless of the medium and, as such, the format does not exempt marketers from providing clear and effective disclosure. Also provided is information on how to make effective disclosure, which involves the avoidance of hyperlinks for disclosure about cost and certain health & safety issues, plus the clear and accurate labelling of hyperlinks and consideration of how these will be affected on various platforms and devices. The full guidance can be found here – subtitled “How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising”.

Over 400 billion actions have been shared on Open Graph
Open Graph activity covers a lot of what we do on Facebook: following, liking, listening to music and so on. Ahead of last week’s SXSW, Facebook revealed that such actions have been shared over 400 billion times. Certain actions have seen a lot of activity: 110 million songs, albums and radio stations have been played 40 billion times and 1.47 million books have been shared.

Facebook updates Timeline
Hot on the heels of the previous week’s News feed changes, Facebook has announced a set of updates to Timeline. There is now a separate space for “things you care about”, which ranges from movies or books to apps like Instagram, depending on the user. The “movies” section, for example, looks like this:

Facebook Timeline Movies

Moreover, the profile is now more strictly delineated into two columns; applications like the above will appear on the left, whilst the right is occupied by a user’s posts. This leads to what Facebook hopes will be a clearer layout, as follows:

Facebook New Timeline

Simultaneous with these changes, the social network has written a blog post detailing the development of the updated News feed, in which a user experience researcher discusses the development from receiving complaints about “clutter” to identifying what was meant by the term and instigating change intended to combat the issue.

More ways to feature apps in new Facebook Timeline
One key difference in Facebook’s updated Timeline is the increased ability to feature apps. As users can now choose which apps to feature on their profiles, developers are able to create “collections” that showcase how their apps are being used. Foursquare, for example, can display the numerous places people have checked in.

Foursquare on new timeline

Facebook to incorporate hashtags?
Long since a mainstay of communication via Twitter, now Facebook are looking into incorporating the hashtag. Whilst it is unclear how far along development is, rumour has it that the feature would be used to group conversations on the network. #intriguing.

More prompts from Facebook to ‘like’ pages, fewer to ‘unlike’
In a move seemingly aimed at encouraging users to interact further with brands, Facebook have introduced a couple of changes to the visibility of ‘like’ and ‘unlike’ options. The first of these two comes as a twofold alteration to ‘liking’ a page. Now, when users like one page via mobile, they will be confronted with the option of liking other, ‘similar’ pages. Moreover, when content from a news website is shared, a button appears below it, offering the option to ‘like’ the page for related stories. In terms of ‘unlikes’, the updated News feed has been designed for lower visbility. When previously choosing to hide a story from the News feed, users were given two options: hide all stories from the page, or unlike it. Now, the latter has been removed, leaving only the option to hide all stories from the same source.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s views on Twitter
Head of WPP Sir Martin Sorrell has claimed that Twitter is more of a PR medium than an advertising one. Considering as an example the London Olympics, he discussed how it acted as a hugely effective word of mouth platform, more so than the likes of Facebook. However, a number of industry professionals have come out to disagree with Sorrell, including We Are Social’s own media director, David Gilbert:

Advertising success on Twitter can be achieved with a carefully thought-out strategy and tight targeting. As marketers, it is our responsibility to adapt our strategies according to the platforms and technologies available.

Twitter to launch iOS music app
Twitter are poised to launch a music app before the end of the month, according to CNET. The app will make music suggestions based on both what you are currently listening to and the music accounts you follow on Twitter.

Twitter Music

Twitter for Windows 8
Twitter have launched an app for Windows 8, including unique features intended at optimising the experience for specific devices. These include ‘Snap View’, which allows Twitter to be moved to one side of the screen and viewed simultaneously with other apps, as well as ‘search’ and ‘share’ charms to allow ease of access to the platform at any time. The launch video below provides further detail.

Twitter improves Analytics
Twitter stepped up their Analytics last week. On Wednesday, Twitter announced an improved ad insights platform, which will allow marketers to further track the effect of promoted tweets beyond their initial audience, allowing a fuller picture of how campaigns extend across the network.

Early stats on Vine usage
Early statistics on use of Twitter’s ‘Vine’ app have shown that it has gained traction already. By the end of February, it was used by 2.66% of all iOS devices, up 50% month-by-month. Notably, the figures for similar apps, including Cinemagram, Viddy and Socialcam all show decline over the same period.

Vine usage

Pinterest’s Web Analytics
Pinterest has gone in a similar direction to Twitter in terms of analytics, launching ‘Pinterest Web Analytics’, which will allow brands to discover information such as how many repins their content received, as well as who saw it as a result. This is now available for free to those with a verified website and will look as follows:

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest have themselves released some information about what’s available and how to gain access.

New Pinterest layout
As well as its Analytics tool, Pinterest used last week to launch a redesign of its network. The ‘repin’ button has been replaced by a large, red ‘Pin it’ equivalent, price now comes as a bubble in the top right corner of a pin and there is an enhanced view surrounding each pin, allowing you to more easily view other pins from the same board & site. Finally, there is a new ‘people who pinned this also pinned’ feature. All in all, shown below. All in all, the changes seem set to make the network even more visually immersive.

People who pinned this

LinkedIn to purchase Newsreader app Pulse
LinkedIn are in talks to purchase Alphonso Labs, makers of Newsreader app Pulse for a deal said to be worth between $50 million and $100 million. The app currently has around 20 million users, reading about 10 million stories per day.

LinkedIn produce B2B advertising banner
LinkedIn have announced SlideShare Content Ads, display units that will appear across the platform, designed at business-to-business advertising. Once a user scrolls over one of these, they will be faced with a presentation that they can scroll through either without leaving the page or in full-screen mode.

Foursquare in new round of funding
Foursquare is rumoured to be in the process of securing a new round of funding, amidst talk that the platform is running out of money. It is as of yet unclear how the network will fare, especially in comparison to the $600 million pre-money valuation received when they raised $50 million in June 2011. As other networks, including Facebook, have looked to eat into the locations market, Foursquare are seeking to fight their corner, with partnerships including e-commerce with Mastercard & Visa and a deal to come pre-installed on the Blackberry 10 device.

Netflix getting social
In what seems like a story that should have come about long ago, Netflix are finally launching social options for US users. Their previous Facebook offering in Canada, Latin America and the UK, which did not allow users to choose what they shared, has been replaced by a system whereby users who opt in will have rows added to their Netflix home page, detailing both “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends”. Inside Facebook has highlighted this as an important move in Facebook’s growing video strategy, which includes increased integration on the new Timeline and structured status updates that include verbs like “watching”. The features are discussed in the below video.

Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage powered by tweets
Yes, that reads ‘Doritos’ SXSW vending machine stage’. The snack brand hosted aninteractive concert at SXSW, in which tweets from the audience would affect in concert events from lighting and cues to the encore song. For more information, I’ll leave you in the very capable hands of rapper LL Cool J.

Meet WolfDog, Old Spice’s ‘Executive Director of Marketing’
In a development of their wildly successful brand TOV, Old Spice have introduced a new ‘Executive Director of Marketing’ across a number of social channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. General public, meet WolfDog.

Ford reach out to automotive bloggers
To market the new 2013 Ford Fusion, the car giant behind the vehicle has reached out to bloggers discussing it on Jalopnik. Flying them to Los Angeles under the pretence of answering market research questions for Jalopnik, they put the influencers in the car alongside professional racer Tanner Foust and created four pieces of video content, the first of which is shown here:

Jaguar promote F-type launch with Facebook competition
We Are Social have produced a Facebook competition to celebrate the UK launch of the new Jaguar F-type. Incentivised by prizes chosen by Jaguar’s communities and a selection of bloggers, fans must post an update relevant to the prize, alongside a link to the ‘Desire’ app. The campaign, which runs across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, forms part of an overall ‘Desire’ campaign that also includes a branded film, featuring Homeland star Damian Lewis.

French Connection sourcing user-generated films
Fashion brand French connection is encouraging its consumers to create their own video content from a selection of clips on the company’s website. Starting with video snippets that depict models wearing French Connection clothing, users are asked to ‘make a scene’ by cutting them together and adding a soundtrack and special effects. There are prizes available for the most-shared videos.

Ted Baker’s social finishing school
Ted Baker is promoting its new Spring Summer collection with an online ‘finishing school’, asking users to ‘write lines’, in a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the schoolday punishment. Each day, users are shown a ‘line’; the first 500 to ‘write’ it via Twitter, Instagram or the Facebook app will receive a limited-edition tote bag featuring their quotation. The most creative students will be rewarded with exclusive Ted Baker leather satchels, too: sure to make even the biggest kid into the talk of the playground.

Nike celebrates 1 million Instagram followers
Nike have reached 1 million Instagram followers and amassed 6 million photos tagged #Nike. To celebrate, the sportswear brand hosted a 24-hour celebration of their followers, championing user-generated content and accompanying each update with an inspirational quotation.

Nike Instagram milestone

Puma promote individuality with ‘Worn My Way’ campaign
Puma has produced a lifestyle campaign with the tagline ‘Worn My Way’, aimed at celebrating individuality. Using a new microsite as well as the hashtag #WornMyWay, consumers will be encouraged to answer the question ‘What does it mean to be yourself?’ The best answers will win prizes including limited edition Puma t-shirts. The campaign, which boasts involvement from musicians such as Professor Green and Mischa B, will also include experiential marketing throughout its course.

Sky Sports offers F1 tickets in Twitter quiz
In line with their Formula One coverage, Sky Sports have produced a competition to win tickets to next year’s Australian Grand Prix. In order to win the ‘virtual grand prix’, contestants must post a tweet containing a campaign hashtag, then answer a set of questions in a limited time.

Sharp’s real time marketing
Sharp has managed to pull off a real-time marketing stunt, poking its way successfully into a conversation between Kanye West and MTV host Sway. When the former reminded the latter of a small, remote-less Sharp TV he had purchased as a gift many years ago, the electronics brand decided to intervene, sending over their latest widescreen model, complete with remote control. Sway, who has almost 300,000 followers, then sent out the below tweet, easily repaying the investment made by Sharp.

 

The Papal succession and social
With thousands waiting outside the Vatican, white smoke eventually signalled the announcement of a new Pope. While scenes like this are to be expected with any such event, the Twitter storm that accompanied was undoubtedly a new twist. Once the @Pontifex account announced: “HABEMUS PAPEM FRANCISCUM”, 7 million other tweets followed. The tweet has now been deleted, giving Francis I the chance to blaze his own social media trail. In fact, the Papal succession highlighted a great deal about the changing nature of human communications as parallels were drawn between 2013 and 2005, shown perhaps most aptly in this Instagram post by NBC news.

The Vatican photos

The event also showed the power of Twitter to amuse and confuse. As his succession became clear, a Spanish Twitter account was discovered, claiming to represent Jorge Bergoglio, aka the new Pope Francis I. However, a bit of research (or access to a Spanish dictionary) might have made it clear that this wasn’t the case, with tweets including: “If I’m the new pope, children will love me more than the Santa Claus”. Even after it’s doubtful origin was revealed, the account’s popularity continued to grow and extended from 3,000 to 150,000 followers within the hour, likely due to a combination of the naive and the amused.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #69

by Karen Wee in News

WeChat & Taobao testing in-app e-commerce search feature
Tencent’s WeChat is working with China’s largest e-commerce site, Taobao, to test an in-app e-commerce search engine. WeChat users will be able to message Taobao from within the chat app by typing the keywords for the products that they are seeking, and the app will respond with a link to the items. This extension of WeChat’s existing brands platform, which is used for social marketing, makes it easier for users to search Taobao without having to launch the web browser or native app. The search reach will include products listed on Taobao’s sister site, Tmall, also run by Alibaba Group. WeChat’s pending new feature heralds the start of social e-commerce search wave that is expected to boost mobile commerce.

Taobao-search-on-WeChat-app

Sina Weibo tests WeChat-like brand platform
WeChat’s rising popularity has reduced the amount of time spent by Sina Weibo’s users on the microblog. Sina is attempting to put up a fight with a new ‘Public Platform’ feature designed to rival WeChat’s brands platform. The feature is still under testing but when launched, it will offer brands, media and advertisers a dedicated channel to reach Sina Weibo’s 500 million registered accounts. This largely mirrors WeChat’s offering with two key differences: (1) WeChat has a smaller userbase of 300 million and (2) Sina’s current system doesn’t support outbound links to drive traffic to brand sites. Nonetheless, the feature is still in beta thus much remains to be seen whether the final launch product will support outbound links that allow advertisers to drive traffic to their own sites. Sina Weibo’s new feature will offer brands a more targeted approach (as users can opt in to receive updates), in addition to the existing promoted messages service which disseminates information to the entire userbase.

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WeChat plans to monetize official accounts platform
Monetization has always been tricky even for hot apps like WeChat. Tencent WeChat is looking to monetize the official accounts platform as its users are willing to pay for services. An attractive medium for brands, some of WeChat’s official accounts have started to display ads within articles sent to readers daily. Merchants have also reported seeing traffic from WeChat converting into transactions. In spite of the early commercial success of these services, WeChat maintains that their future monetization efforts will not conflict with user experience. WeChat is always looking to enhance the user experience and its latest version includes a “shake-to-search-for-a-song” feature that makes Shazam-esque song recognition available simply by shaking the phone. Previously, WeChat’s “Shake” feature was used to enable users to meet other users or to transfer web pages. The enhanced feature will soon enable users to launch the official WeChat account for a TV program by shaking the phone while watching the program.

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WeChat’s at the top of the Indonesian app chart
China’s WeChat topped Indonesia’s iOS and Android app charts following a TV advertising campaign that started a few weeks ago. The chat app also reached second  position on the app chart for Blackberry, Indonesia’s top smartphone platform. WeChat’s dominance on the Android app chart has displaced Japanese app, Line, putting it in second place. It is estimated that there are currently at least a million WeChat users in Indonesia. This development seems to be testimony to WeChat’s partnership with MNC Media, which seems to be paying off in Indonesia, especially for the TV ads. The newly incorporated joint-venture company, MNC Tencent, looks set to overwhelm Line in terms of TV ads and public visibility in the longer term.

Skype powers court proceedings in Indonesia
The Indonesian legal system is harnessing the power of the internet to facilitate court proceedings in a cost-effective manner. For the first time, Skype was used for teleconferencing, allowing a rape victim to deliver her sworn testimony without having to be physically present in court. Though there were hiccups such as the conference call getting disconnected twice, the court process was not disrupted significantly. A far more cost effective substitute to expensive landline-based  teleconference calls, the overall success of this hearing could herald the future for legal proceedings.

Skype-used-in-Indonesian-court

1/3 of your Facebook friends see your posts
Research by Stanford University’s Michael S. Bernstein has shown that each Facebook update is seen by on average 1/3 of the poster’s friends. The study, which took into account the profiles of 220,000 Facebook users last June, also found that posts across the course of the month reached on average 61% of their friends. This high reach is something most users are unaware of, with most found to “consistently underestimate” the size of their audience.

Facebook’s News feed changes
As we reported last Friday, Facebook have announced a host of changes to their News feed. In the below video, we hear the Facebook team discussing the various differences users will see.

In essence, they have made two major changes. The first of these looks to provide a more visually immersive experience, with large images replacing what the network refer to as ‘clutter’ for everything from photo uploads to article previews and checkins. In fact, the inflated pictures and sleeker left side bar have led many to draw comparisons between the new format and the layout of Google+, a set of similarities highlighted in the following comparison:

Facebook Google+ similarities

It is in the second change that Facebook moves one step beyond its network rival. Rather than just one News feed, users will now have access to a number of different versions, allowing greater control over the stories they see. For example, you can switch from looking at a feed containing purely photos to the activity of all your friends, or the feed containing posts from the celebrities and news sources you ‘follow’.

The changes will post interesting challenges for marketers. First of all, the number and type of feeds will affect the way in which users receive branded content. Whilst the regular News feed will see brands compete with the same stories as they have do currently, the ‘Following’ feed will mean marketers are pitted directly against publishers, as well as celebrities with whom Facebook users have high affinity, increasing ever further the necessity of high-quality content. Moreover, there was no mention in the initial announcement of how adverts will appear in the new feeds. Whilst it is the norm for Facebook’s launches to focus on user experience over advertising and there is no initial change expected, brands will be looking to monitor any expected long term changes and how these may affect social strategy.

Tumblr to introduce mobile advertising
In an attempt at monetisation, Tumblr is set to introduce advertising on its mobile app, much like it already has on desktop. In the first half of this year, companies will be able to promote posts via mobile as well as web. This comes at the same time as research from Gartner on the increasing power of mobile advertising. This year expects to see $11.4 billion in worldwide mobile advertising revenue, up from $9.8 billion in 2012. By 2016, this could increase to $24.6 billion.

Red Bull introduce ‘Flow’
Red Bull are expanding both their social portfolio and association with the world of extreme sports by introducing Flow, a trick-sharing app designed for skateboarders and BMXers. Available for iPhone and Android, Flow allows users to either record in-app or upload pre-recorded content, which it then converts from individual clips to a seamless ‘flow’ of content.

Red Bull Flow

Mothercare producing film for Mother’s Day
We hope any mums reading had a great Mother’s Day yesterday! To celebrate the event, Mothercare are producing a user-generated film about a day in the life of a mother, due to be posted on their Facebook page today. The video, directed by Susie Donaldson of ‘Child of our Time’, is a collation of various photo and video content sent to the brand’s social platforms with the hashtag #MothersDayMoments.

Hospitals’ Facebook likes increase with quality
There is a link between a hospital’s quality and the number of Facebook likes it has, according to research by the American Journal of Medical Quality. Whilst social networks are not prevalent in the US healthcare sector – note that below 50% of the 82 New York-based locations tested even had a Facebook page – those that existed in the social sphere gained on average 93 likes with every percentage-point drop in the mortality rate. Furthermore, there is a positive correlation between a hospital’s fan numbers and the positive reviews it receives, depicting the ever-growing nature of social recommendations in non-commercial spheres.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #63

by Karen Wee in News

Mercedes-Benz sells limited edition Smart Cars on Sina Weibo
Could this be the sign of things to come? Mercedes-Benz launched a Weibo app last Friday to sell 666 units of special edition smart cars priced at US$12,700 (S$25,328) each. For the first time, the lifestyle arm of the German luxury carmaker is collaborating with Chinese jewelry designer Wan Baobao for the special Lunar New Year edition. To celebrate the Lunar Year of the Snake, the car will bear a snake-shaped logo tag set against a bright yellow and deep blue colour scheme. The company shared that this innovative effort is not driven purely by sales but a means of reaching out and engaging with customers via social media. The smart car division is no stranger to the e-commerce marketplace, having set a record in 2010 for selling 205 cars within four hours via group buying on online marketplace, Taobao.

HootSuite rolls out updates for Sina Weibo and Renren
Last October, we mentioned that HootSuite has rolled out support for Sina Weibo and Traditional Chinese. In the latest update, the social media management dashboard has added new features for Sina Weibo. These include scheduling of posts in addition to allowing enterprise customers to add multiple accounts and save keyword searches for monitoring purposes. The new features have also been rolled out for the Renren plugin on HootSuite. The latest update also allows tracking of photos and shares on the Facebook-like platform via new streams. Industry watchers anticipate that HootSuite will eventually support Sina’s competitor, Tencent’s social networks, in an upcoming development.

Japanese photosharing app adds cute Valentine’s Day stamps
Trust the Japanese app makers to come up with saccharine apps and features to charm the socks off hopeless romantics. In its latest incarnation, Camely, a Japanese Instagram-like app has upped the cute factor by allowing users to add a range of Valentine-themed stamps in addition to the existing suite of filters, frames, text effects and stamps designed to give you a sugar-rush of the app variety.

Burpple, food photo sharing app, rolls out offline uploads
Singapore-based Instagram-esque Burpple has rolled out an offline upload feature to support users who are keen to share their food photos but have limited mobile data access. The offline feature works by allowing users to upload images to their Burpple boxes and storing the photos in cache for publishing to the service when the phone is connected to the web. For a visual guide on the feature, check out the video below.

SnapDish now available in 7 more languages & on Kindle Fire
While some restaurants are banning food photography, it may not be the end of the road for foodies intent on sharing photos of their meals. SnapDish, a Japanese photosharing app for food lovers, is now available on Kindle Fire and supports an additional seven new languages on top of the existing four, which are English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. As 30 percent of the app downloads originate outside of Japan, app maker Vuzz’s latest release is a timely development as they roll out support for Thai, Indonesian, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese. Currently available on iPhone and Android, the latest Kindle Fire release is expected to give the app a boost in users from North America.

Marketers need to apply more budget to social
Research by Warc has found that of 800 award-winning marketing case studies from the last year, those that included a social element were more on the whole shorter, lower-budget and less likely to display proof of effectiveness. Of the cases studied, those with a social element made up over 55%, but only 51% won the ‘top industry awards’. 44% were found in the lowest budget category (below $500,000), of which only 28% won gold awards. The research shows a link between spend, duration and effectiveness, which in turn displays how it is important for marketers to invest in social as a more serious marketing tool and less of an experiment in order to be truly effective.

Luxury brands investing more heavily in social
As if taking Warc’s advice, luxury brands  have been reported by eMarketer to be upping their social budgets; 72% of 130 marketing executives surveyed by Worldwide Business Research and ShopIgniter will be increasing their social budget in 2013. 95% said they were already actively engaging customers on Facebook, making it the most popular social platform, with Twitter in second place with 85%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pinterest came in third with 60%, as the visual nature of the site is well suited to the marketing and conversation styles normally adopted by luxury brands.

The Fastest Growing Facebook Countries
Socialbakers have conducted research into the ten fastest growing countries on Facebook. Over the course of the year, 29,723,750 joined the network in Brazil, making it the fastest growing and the second biggest Facebook country overall. India came in second, followed by Japan, Indonesia and Mexico. Interestingly, the United States and Germany both made the top ten, suggesting that there is still room for growth in Western countries.

Facebook launches conversion tracking tool for all ad accounts
Open to some of Facebook’s top advertisers for over a year, the network has now rolled out its conversion tracking feature to all advertiser accounts. This allows marketers to embed a unique piece of code on page on their website, which will track the number of conversions, such as checkouts or registrations.

Twitter valued at $9 billion
An offer to Twitter’s staff by BlackRock has valued the company at more than $9 billion. The asset management firm have made an offer of $80 million to purchase shares from some of Twitter’s earliest staff, while the network itself will not raise any capital from the deal. The valuation marks a decrease from the $11 billion calculated from some deals at the end of last year. However, considering the problematic nature of Facebook’s IPO, as well as a difficult financial period for other Silicon Valley firms, the large value should be encouraging to Twitter.

Twitter launch Vine, a video sharing app
Twitter have released a new app this week: a video sharing app for iPhone and iPod touch called Vine. In keeping with the microblogging spirit, videos are limited in length, with some great examples shown on the network’s blog. Users can share 6 seconds of looping video, establishing the service somewhere between a GIF and a full film, which will begin playing simply when users click ‘expand tweet’.

A preview tweet showed Twitter CEO Dick Costolo showing his followers how to make steak tartare.

As for how to use it, this useful graphic explains the basic process:

The service has been reviewed positively by The Verge, who argue that it takes away a number of the problems of shooting amateur video, with the ‘tap to shoot’ functionality making it easy to record a montage. They cite the difficulty of shooting longer shots, but consider how this may well be intentional, encouraging short, quickly-cut videos that look good on a Twitter feed. Another problem may be created by Facebook, who almost instantly cut off the app’s access to the “find people” feature, which allowed users to locate and connect with their Facebook friends.

Naturally, there is already interest in how the service can be utilised by brands. AdAge have reported a mixture of excitement and scepticism throughout the advertising world. There has been a very high initial takeup and within a day Vine had become the top-ranked social media app on the Apple app store, ranking at 13th overall. However, they consider worries by certain agencies about current problems with the app, including an unfinished feel and some technical hitches, as well as concern that the initial hype may die down without giving way to longevity. Nevertheless, brands have taken to the service already, with Urban Outfitters and Gap amongst those to have started experimenting. There is a long way to go before we can assess whether or not Vine has become a successful part of the social landscape, but it certainly has potential as an interesting medium for use, in both the personal and marketing spheres.

Twitter increases the cost of Promoted Trends for the Super Bowl
It’s probably the biggest event in US sport and retains a large audience even in those countries with little interest in American Football during the rest of the year. No wonder, then, that Twitter are looking to capitalise on the increased interest in ‘Promoted Trends’ during this year’s Super Bowl. Over the past year, brands have been able to purchase a ‘Promoted Trend’ for $120,000 a day. However, during the Super Bowl, this figure is likely to be significantly higher, which displays both the importance of Twitter as a conversation network during big sporting events and the interests of the company in attempting to monetise the service.

LinkedIn to turn off ‘Answers’ at the end of January
Answers, the LinkedIn forum that allows users to respond to one another’s questions, is set to be turned off at the end of the month. Econsultancy have reported the official reasoning behind this:

As of Jan. 31, LinkedIn Answers will be retired from LinkedIn. We will be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn

They speculate that this is likely to mean an increased push towards the use of groups and pages. If this is the case, there is a potential issue in terms of the number of spam posts that currently occupy these areas. Whilst ‘Answers’ was by no means a perfect service and itself included posts by those with little actual expertise, it will be interesting to see the extent to which it is improved upon by its replacement.

Quora introduce blogs
Question-and-answer website Quora has released a blog service, with which it hopes to provide an audience for writers currently lacking one and help others to expand theirs further. The idea is that, as Quora naturally organises writing into relevant topics, your piece is far more likely to be found by the audience you desire. The service will launch on both desktop and mobile, with an emphasis on simple, striking presentation as shown below:

Coca Cola unveil social Super Bowl campaign
Coca Cola are set to follow last year’s incredibly successful Super Bowl polar bears with a social campaign called ‘Mirage’. They have produced a video, shown below, that depicts three different sets of teams racing through the desert towards a giant bottle of Coca Cola. Leading up to the TV advert, fans online can vote for who they want to reach the Coke first and sabotage their competitors by watching and interacting with a variety of content on networks including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube, of which one video notably includes a partnership with Domino’s Pizza. By sharing content, fans can unlock rewards including coupons for bottles of Coca Cola. After the game, the final video will reveal which of the three groups has been successful in the race.

Target promote Everyday Collection with ‘Tweet to Runway’
Target are promoting their ‘Everyday Collection’ with an event that encourages fans to Tweet statemenets about their everyday lives, accompanied by the hashtag #Everydayshow. Target then choose their favourites and have them read out by models on a runway. They have produced video content depicting some of the best examples:

Capri Sun involve mummy bloggers in latest campaign
Drinks brand Capri Sun are utilising the power of mum in their latest campaign, which features a bespectacled boy named Jack ‘Seizing the Day’ by taking part in a variety of extreme activities, whilst, of course, enjoying a Capri Sun. Mums are then encouraged to enter a picture of their child doing the same, encouraged by the phrase “We know your kids are extraordinary, too” and the potential $2,500 prize. Blogger outreach plays a large part in the idea, with influential mummy bloggers being engaged by the brand to write articles about their own children ‘seizing the day’. Despite the solid, interesting campaign, it seems as though they may have missed a trick: there is as yet no mention of the pun ‘Capri diem’.

We Are Social create ‘Boastcards’ campaign for Expedia
We Are Social have created an activation for Expedia Australia and New Zealand aimed at promoting their summer sale. They have constructed a fully customisable template for fans to produce their own ‘Boastcards’, which they can share with friends to show off about their trip so far – the first 1,000 users are able to do so physically. By uploading information on their location, fans are also offered the opportunity to view other Boastcards from the region, as well as deals for their current spot. On top of this, there is the possibility to enter a competition with a grand prize of $2,000. Alica Kroupa, Account Director at We Are Social, said:

We wanted to generate a buzz about the Expedia Summer Sale among the Expedia Facebook community as well as other Facebook users in their networks. The Boastcard app is a great way of creating fantastic user-generated content likely to be of interest to anyone with an interest in travel.

Justin Bieber now the most followed person on Twitter
Justin Bieber has overtaken Lady Gaga to become the most followed person on Twitter, with over 33 million followers. The Mirror also points out that the figure amounts to more than the combined follower total of Harry Styles and Barack Obama, which may be the world’s strangest ever combined metric.

French Government replace the word ‘hashtag’ with ‘mot-dièse’
The French Government have decided to use their own French-language word for the hashtag, labelling it as a mot-dièse in all official literature going forward. It literally translates as ‘sharp word’, alluding to the musical sharp symbol. Some have argued that this may be problematic as the symbols are slightly different (# and ♯) but unless the people of France are posting a great deal of musical notation to Twitter, we shouldn’t imagine there will be too much confusion.

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We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #62

by Karen Wee in News

Sina Weibo launches promoted feed ads
Still trying to find ways to monetize its popular Twitter-esque microblogging site, Sina Weibo has rolled out promoted feed advertisements to its 400 million users. Known as Weibo Tuiguang, the ads will appear in user feeds and be differentiated from user posts by a grey line and a notice indicating that it’s a sponsored post. Yet to be implemented on the mobile platform, the decision to roll out on the web platform first  is an interesting deviation from the company’s declared intention to focus on its mobile platform as it seeks to monetize.  In addition to promoted feed ads, the company is exploring a diverse range of options such as e-payments and fan headline advertising to start the revenue stream flowing. It better move quickly as its rival, Tencent’s killer chat app, WeChat is fast gaining ground having registered its 300 millionth user less than a week ago and drawing Weibo users’ attention away from the microblogging service.

WeChat’s new features to include song recognition & voice chatrooms
Speaking of WeChat, the app has unleashed a beta version 4.5 update that features multi-user voice chatrooms, Siri-like voice reminders and even a song database search feature along the lines of Shazam or SoundHound. The update will allow users to set verbal reminders for themselves and to search for an unknown piece of music by shaking the smartphone. The app will stream the song along with its lyrics but  is expected to be made available only to Chinese users due to copyright issues. Word has it that the update will be made available to iPhone users first before Android users. It will be interesting to see how many users the group chatroom can host.

Japanese chat app, Line, reaches 100 million users
Fast becoming a worthy rival to WeChat, Line has just passed the 100 million users milestone. The photo below shows the user counter that was set up at Line HQ in anticipation of breaching the 100 million users mark. Though a much smaller player than 300 million strong WeChat, Line is ahead of Korean Kakao Talk’s 72 million users, in the battle for dominance in the Asian mobile messaging market. Industry watchers expect these Asian players to expand into English speaking markets this year. This would be interesting as they face off with old players such as WhatsApp and new entrants such as Facebook Messenger in the international arena.

Snoop Dogg pimps Line on Twitter
Line has tied up with popular US rapper, Snoop Dogg to help its expansion into the North American market. Boasting a range of Snoop Dogg virtual stickers that are available for free downloads, Line has been getting lots of attention through the rapper’s shout-outs on Twitter.

Line’s aggressive foray into overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and the US has been credited with helping it to hit the 100 million user mark. Interestingly, the app’s maker, NHN Japan revealed some months back that half of its then 70 million users were not from Japan. The app is expected to gain more traction in English speaking markets in 2013 while simultaneously looking to expand in China with a Chinese version, called ‘Lianwo‘.

China’s MiTalk to give WeChat a run for its money
China-born Android-based smartphone maker, Xiaomi, has struck a partnership with Taiwanese startup, Mface, to market it’s messaging app known as Miliao in Chinese (aka MiTalk in English) across Southeast Asia. The collaboration is expected to help MiTalk expand its reach to Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan. MiTalk aims to register 5 million overseas users by year end. The chat app currently has 23 million registered users, a large proportion of which are presumably from mainland China. The company will be marketing its smartphones in Hong Kong and Taiwan soon and may expand into North America in the next few years.

Worldwide smartphone penetration on the up
An article by eMarketer has examined the growing smartphone market around the world. It predicts that by 2016, roughly 75% of certain markets including the US and UK, will own one of the devices. The mobile phone market is incredibly saturated, with 130% combined market penetration of smartphones and non-smartphones. As such, they argue that the coming years will see an increase in the former and a decrease in the latter, resulting in the following figures:

Facebook release Graph Search
Facebook have announced Graph Search, a new social search engine that will allow users to search for results based on what their friends like. For example, instead of just looking for a dentist, you can look for “dentists in my area that my friends like”, or even the likes of “singles in my area who like Star Wars”. We have produced a comprehensive post detailing everything you need to know about the feature here.

Facebook bring free voice calls to the US
As we’ve previously discussed, Facebook operated a trial in Canada for free voice calling over the Internet with its iOS Messenger app. Now, they’ve extended this to the US with the latest version of Messenger for iOS. Provided that both users have downloaded the app, they are able to call one another for free, either over WiFi or by using up some of their data allowance.

Instagram releases monthly active user data
After the speculation about Instagram losing users, which we mentioned in last week’s mashup, the network has decided to release data about its monthly active users for the first time. They have stated that, contrary to the rumour, they have actually seen 10% growth in the period from December to January and that the last count showed over 90 million people using Instagram monthly.

EyeEm overtakes Instagram in app downloads
Whilst this was going on, Instagram was actually overtaken by a rival photo-sharing app called EyeEm in terms of downloads, which was at one point the second most downloaded photo/video app behind YouTube. Instagram has since regained its position ahead of EyeEm, but this shows the potentially precarious position Instagram holds in the photo-sharing market.

Favouriting becoming more popular on Twitter
Over the past year, the option to ‘favourite’ a tweet has become much more popular, as the following graph shows:

This comes as a result of changes made to favouriting by Twitter in December 2011, placing the option in a much more noticeable position and making it easier to access favourited tweets. Interestingly, users are more likely to favourite an @-reply than a regular tweet, potentially showing how users are employing the function as a way of exhibiting a positive response, similar to a Facebook ‘like’.

Twitter and television
Twitter have released some intriguing statistics into the way in which people interact with television on the network. They claim that 60% of Twitter users access the site while watching TV and around 40% of prime time Twitter activity is about television. Using specific programmes as case studies, they showed how big TV events can attract an impressively high amount of online activity, such as an episode of Made In Chelsea that procured 215,220 tweets from 110,162 users, reaching a potential 124.2m users.

Twitter headers make it possible to fake verified accounts
The introduction of Twitter header images has led to an unwanted side effect for Twitter, as it is now possible for someone to fake a verified account. As you can see from the image below, it seems as though there is a verified account for a fictional creation, the children’s book character Percy Jackson. However, the blue tick that announces verification has simply been added to the background. Fortunately, there is still a way to tell the difference between verified and unverified accounts, as the word “verified” will appear when you hover the cursor over a true account.

New Myspace now publicly available
The new version of Myspace, which launched in July, is now open to the public after a period of invitation-only signups. The emphasis remains strongly on music and in particular discovering new usic, with an audio deck on each page and a variety of music-related trending stories. The main page also promotes investor Justin Timberlake’s new single. There is yet to be a formal announcement for the new launch.

Foursquare’s maps show the growth of the network
Foursquare have released a detailed map that shows the various places where people have checked in over the last three months.

As can be seen above, this shows various world hubs, but can also be used to show in more detail the areas where people like to check in within a city, such as a clear layout of the runways in Atlanta Airport. In an interview with TechCrunch, Foursquare’s data scientist, Blake Shaw discussed how having access to all this information is important for the future of the company. He stated how they are experiencing a stage of growth similar to Twitter in 2008, from a place to share information to a location for consumption of that information; that is, Foursquare intends to grow further towards being a tool for discovering new places.

Twitter tracking the Oscars
Twitter have released a tool for tracking the positive conversation around Oscar nominees in the six largest categories: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director. They have produced a real time graph that displays positive sentiment around any of the nominees, measured as a percentage score against the average sentiment level of all tweets on the network. This is similar to a project pitting Romney against Obama during the US Presidential Election and is of interest for examining how particular events or news stories have an effect on public opinion.

Smoothie King helping with New Year’s Resolutions
It’s a sad fact that most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last a very long time. So drinks company Smoothie King have released a Facebook app called Lean Into Life, aimed at salvaging the spirit of New Year in mid-January, by encouraging users to take photographs of themselves whilst completing certain resolution-related challenges for the chance to win $100 gift cards, free smoothies or a bicycle. Fans are asked to take a photograph via Instagram and use the hasthags #SmoothieKing and #LeanIntoLife to take part in the contest.

Panera Bread Company promote ‘hidden menu’ via Social
Panera Bread Company last week sent out a tweet that announced their new ‘hidden menu’ and was met with a range of reactions from excitement to confusion. The idea is that the menu is not mentioned in store, but simply via social, meaning that in-the-know Twitter followers have to go in store and specifically request one of the protein-rich range. This exclusively-social promotion is an interesting idea and could be a very effective example for restaurant or FMCG brands.

Indy 500 campaign set to use people’s Instagram photos
An Indy 500 campaign is set to use Instagram images tagged with the hasthag #Indy500orBust. These will be placed on an interactive map, whilst users are also given the opportunity to win a VIP race experience by uploading photographs. After the controversy surrounding potential changes to Instagram’s terms of service, it will be interesting to see how many campaigns like this come about.

Bentley releasing cars with hashtag license plates
For the launch of three new models, Bentley showcased each with a license plate that displayed a hashtag of the car’s name.

The move is very similar to We Are Social’s campaign for Jaguar, where we emblazoned the model specific @sportbrake handle on the side of a prototype car. As such, it seems that we are seeing a growing trend in the automotive industry to attempt to support the launch of new vehicles with online conversation, specifically on Twitter.

The NHL’s Foursquare comeback
With the launch of a new NHL season, the league has released a Foursquare badge that can be unlocked by checking in at two games this season. Anyone who unlocks it is eligible for a 15% discount at the NHL online shop. Five separate teams have also released their own badge, which can be obtained by checking in at either a home or away game at any point in the season. Each of these qualifies fans for a separate benefit, including the change to win tickets or discounts at team stores.


Esurance Facebook campaign offers SXSW dream package
Online insurance company Esurance have released a campaign that offers fans the chance to win an all-access pass to SXSW, a $2000 hotel stay, iPad and the opportunity to create a set of videos that details the excitement behind the campaign. To win, fans must create content that displays why they are the right person to be behind the videos. The campaign taps into the technological nature of SXSW and produces a prize that is truly fit for the audience.

Volvic and We Are Social search for brand advocates on Facebook
We Are Social have produced a campaign for Volvic that asks fans to submit photographs that they feel best reflects the ‘Volcanicity’ brand. As an incentive, fans can win ‘once in a lifetime experiences’ around the theme of volcanoes, along with a camera to document them. The campaign is aimed at driving brand advocacy – Deola Laniyan, Account Director at We Are Social, said fans will:

become our community managers meaning the content that’s posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.

English and Welsh High Court ruling on Facebook privacy
The England and Wales High Court has made a ruling on Facebook privacy, stating that pictures on Facebook cannot be published in a newspaper without permission, even if they are set to ‘public’. The ruling is of interest to all those on Facebook and could display a pro-user attitude to privacy by UK authorities.

Tesco’s horse play on Twitter
You’d think the last week couldn’t have got much worse for Tesco, what with their value-range beef burgers being found to contain horse meat. However, it looks as though it has, after accidentally tweeting what looked like a joke about horses. It goes to show the danger of scheduling tweets and making sure you keep a close eye on all social media channels, especially at sensitive times.

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