Tag Archives: social networking

Is this of Pinterest to you?

This first came to life over a year ago but I’ve heard about this new social site a few times over the last week or so and it caught my eye again in the Metro yesterday.

It’s mainly women in the US using it right now (reserve the Desperate Housewives comments for later), but that will change I’m sure as there are currently around a million pins a week being added.

Currently you have to be invited or request an invite; I’m on the waiting list… and still waiting… ahem…

It’s a great virtual mood board experience, visually rich and quick to engage with, although to be honest I’m a little nervous about the copyright issues that could arise here.

I wonder whether it will stand on its own or quickly be swallowed by something bigger – Mr Zuckerberg apparently has his eye on it so who knows.

In the meantime ‘like’ it, ‘g+’ it, ‘tweet’ it or, if you want to join, ‘pin’ it…

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Facebook and the Future

Facebook were in our basement the other night talking about what the future looks like for social. It was a really interesting talk with one subject in particular catching my attention.

More and more we hear about the influence fans of brands have on their friends but, increasingly so it’s more about friends of fans. These guys have for more influence as it’s perceived as unbiased, if, the message gets that far.

As it stands 90% of fan pages on Facebook have fewer than 100 fans. Mainly because the page isn’t backed by media so there’s nothing driving traffic (I’ve certainly had my share of clients who assume that just by sticking a brand page up, the world will ‘like’ them and share the love).

Shock, horror and revelation! This is not so.

Whilst the media buying and planning lot of you out there will know that’s old news, the exciting revelation is that bridging the gap between media spend v social currency seems to be closing, and it’s doing so in the guise of Polling Ads.

You still buy the initial space either on a CPC or CPM basis but the reach they can achieve improves the potential ROI several times over.

Facebook claim that current case studies have shown: 160% uplift in brand recall, 200% uplift in message awareness of the ad and a whopping 400% uplift in purchase intent.

That, coupled with the current predicted reach for potential customers falling in at around more than 500 million and as we all know, still being able to profile your audience by; location, age and interests really leads to a  no brainer.

I have a few clients trying this already and the rewards have been notable for them: extended reach, higher awareness, growing loyalty and a marked improvement of their brands resonating online.

My advice – get all over it!

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Google Social Search

One of the latest developments I’ve been exploring is Google’s Social Search feature designed to aid quick searches from within your online social circle.

The theory behind Social Search is that your online connections will likely be talking about topics more relevant to you because you’re connected with them due to shared work life or interests.

So how does it work?

Well if you’re logged in to Google, as you search for something you should see an additional search result pop up at the bottom of your results page “Results from people in your social circle.” The results will consist of things like blogs from your friends and colleagues, their website feeds, tweets and status updates.

Who’s in your circle?

At the moment Google Social Search is just that, a social search within all linked Google assets e.g. Gmail, Google chat, people in your contacts list or following you on buzz and so on. It’s not known at this stage whether it will branch out to the likes of Facebook but in theory this is great if you want to see what your friends are saying about a film you want to see or a new restaurant you want to check out.

I’d much rather take their word for it, wouldn’t you?

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who are we really?

In a world where animosity is so readily available it’s easy to recreate our personas for so many different purposes.

You have Facebook for your personal life; the fun me, the wild me, the chilled out me. You have Linkedin for your professional persona; the intelligent, robust, dedicated and ambitious me, twitter for whatever persona you choose, or a mix if you dare, YouTube for your more frivolous side that doesn’t mind being exploited in glorious motion and then Flickr, Bebo, Foursquare and so on.

But when online who are we really talking to? Everyone remembers the story of the married, lazy, overweight couple in the US that recreated themselves on second life as something akin to Barbie and Ken right? They ended up divorcing in real life because he cheated on her with Cindy in their virtual life. That’s not really the point though; the point is we have two sloths sat on a sofa with no life which suddenly become the envy of everyone as the picture of perfection in their virtual life.

So are we talking to the real couple or the false couple?

Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) has always stood by his premise that transparency will take over but there are plenty of sceptics out there who would argue otherwise. I’m guilty of it myself; I tend to be select with photos before publishing them for the world to see and even when I’m writing on here I’m conscious of who might be reading this.

Then there’s the question of who controls our identity online? Do we as the creator or do our friends, colleagues or even the teams running the social sites in the first place? Is the world going to become more open or are we going to live two lives in tandem?

Who are we online? Who are we really? Who are we going to become? Will we get lost in the transparent world or will we all embed our replicate personas online?

If Facebook achieve their goal of a universal identity system then will technology gain master over humans or will the internet remain a powerful tool for society?

Cyber food for thought that’s for sure…

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What’s all this noise about?

Social media is often met with scepticism when you’re trying to entice a client into their brand interaction world online. The majority don’t want to poke their head above the parapet for fear of being shot down in flames by their consumers, but really it’s not that scary if you approach it in a sensible way.

Start with monitoring what people say about your brand, you can subscribe to services such as Brandwatch to do this. Companies like this will gather data from all different types of blogs including micro blogs like twitter, plus larger blogs like WordPress and Blogger. It will also gather information on your mentions from video and image sites like YouTube and Flickr plus social networks and news sites to name but a few.

Once collected the data is cleansed and analysed for you. By subscribing to a brand monitoring service you will be able to filter through all the online noise and establish who is saying what about your brand including what they’re saying, where they’re saying it and how often. Is it positive or negative? Are other people responding?

By understanding the platform of social interaction surrounding your brand you will be better placed to engage in a considered and appropriate way.

If you’re still not sure most services such as Brandwatch offer a free trial or demo so have  look around and see who’s talking about you.

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Foursquare: The Facts

Foursquare was founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai.

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website and game.

Foursquare is built primarily for smart phones.

Foursquare has more than 600,000 people checking in at this moment in time.

Foursquare grew more than 10% during one conference (SXSW). That hasn’t been done since Twitter.

Foursquare employ 16 people. The square root of 4 is 16… See what they did there?

If you want to know more, check out their blog.

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Is social media right for my brand?

I get asked this A LOT!

Today was no exception. Social media has fundamentally altered online marketing by opening up the way that consumers can share information, create information and ultimately therefore, add or take, value from that information.

Your brand is no longer in your control online, the conversation is happening but the question clients are afraid to answer is whether they should be a part if it…

The hype that surrounds social media can make it difficult to distinguish which factors will effectively integrate into your overall strategy, but with the right strategy in place it can revolutionise how you communicate with your consumers.

The key to success is the approach. Setting up a Twitter page or Facebook page and asking people to follow your brand or ‘like’ you won’t work. To effectively cut through all the noise your brand needs an informed social media strategy.

Carefully considered insights, best practice case studies and real-time monitoring of your brands buzz will help inform how to implement the most effective social media activity in line with your wider marketing plan. With ongoing monitoring of the conversations sparked online you can then build upon this to inform your brand decisions moving forwards, this information has proved invaluable to thousands of brands already.

I will say again though it does need to be planned, failure to effectively target your consumers can leave you open to ridicule across the web, so I guess my answer is; Social Media can be right for your brand if planned and implemented in line with a relevant and considered strategy. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it.

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What does Facebook publish about you and your friends?

Facebook privacy has been a hot topic for a while now, it’s certainly something I get asked a lot about by those not too familiar with the privacy settings.

Because the settings are too ‘hidden’ or difficult to understand for a vast amount of users, the result is a lot of personal information being publicly available which some users might not want air.

Coupled with the fact that Facebook aren’t particularly forthcoming with how to use the privacy settings it’s no wonder there’s still nervousness around a social network that equals the 4th biggest country in the world.

So if you really want to find out what people can publicly see then here’s a handy tool to help you. This tool requests all data from Facebook’s new api to see what information is available, you simply enter your Facebook username, name, email address or a related keyword and it will display all the information  publicly available.

Be warned you might be suprised at just how much is broadcast…

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Wave 4 is on the horizon

Microsoft have announced the arrival of the latest version of Windows Live Messenger “Wave 4”.

It’s the latest way to collaborate all your social networks, video chats, photo sharing and cloud integration (similar to Facebook Connect) plus it offers integration with other websites so you can share your thoughts with your friends wherever in the virtual world they are.

Video chat comes in HD, the navigation is tabbed and easier to use – meaning multiple flashing windows are a thing of the past – plus it’s available for download for the Windows Phone 7 and iPhone. The beta version should be launched this summer. If you can’t wait that long to find out more the watch this video.


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Blip in the transaction

Blippy, the latest product from Twitter, has encountered some issues in the early days of it’s launch.

Featuring stores such as, iTunes, Amazon, Zappos, Blockbuster and eBay, Blippy provides tweets on who spent what and where…

To add to the seemingly pointless nature of Blippy if you do decide to share your purchase details you could be sharing more than you bargained for as credit card details were found through Google search on Friday, after a data leak…

Rather than who bought what, I think I’d be asking myself why and who cares?

That said it could be a useful awareness building tool for brands if it does take off… maybe.

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