Tag Archives: social

What’s after WhatsApp

Now that Facebook has zucked up WhatsApp into their empire, many users of the service are looking to an alternative, it’s a question that came up again today in a meeting with a client so here’s a quick overview of some other cool services that can give you just as much, if not more;

1. Viber: Currently in use in 193 countries (so pretty much worldwide), this is similar to WhatsApp to adopt as it uses your mobile numbers to identify who from your contact list is a user. Once connected via the App you instantly message and away you go, plus you can also call your users so long as you’re connected to the Internet. In addition there are fun sticker packs and you can send doodles and short voice snippets, great meeting distractions!

2. LINE: Similar again but it registers your number to it’s database, so worth considering if you don’t like that. Otherwise much like Viber too in that if you’re connected you can also make calls to other LINE users and it gives you fun stickers and emoticons. There are over 300m users and it’s fast expanding into Europe with Spain being a top adopting country.

3. Skype: More popular for video calls, this service has been around for a while but let’s not forget that you can still use it simply for messaging too. The only added layer of intricacy is that you need to approve uses before you can start chatting, for me though, that’s a bonus!

4. Kik Messenger: Big at the moment in the US and Canada, and specifically with teens. You need to register with your email address, choose a unique name (much like Skype) but once up and running the app is a super simple messaging service, there are no calling capabilities but it’s growing fast with over 100m users already and funding secured to expand, so it’s one to watch.

5. KAKAO: This app is another up and coming that allows you to either message directly, or within groups, similar to WhatsApp, it’s totally free and despite the common misconception its’ only available in Asia, it is free to the whole world, yippee.

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How many screens do you have at your fingertips?

We’re all used to watching TV with our laptops out and smart phone to hand yes? We’ve all seen the ads that prompt you to befriend a brand on Facebook. Classic multi-screen marketing; one to grab your attention, one to do the thing it’s asking you to and a third to share the fact you’re doing it.

It’s an advertising tactic that’s steadily grown over the last few years and with consumer figures doubling across Europe in the last year to reach 19 million it’s a theory that’s proving to work.

But the really clever stuff is achieved when brands recognise how people really want to interact with them.

When multiscreen marketing is executed to coherently synchronise across screens simultaneously, you’re closer to achieving what the user wants.

Brands need to design content that actively shifts from one screen to another in line with user engagement. More and more people are interacting now with what is known as an ‘ecosystem of screens’. It’s no longer clever to design digital platforms that only offer the desired service on one, they need to connect, and so we need to design systems that service multiple devices, seamlessly.

Because consumers now increasingly engage with media at different touch points, in different places and on different platforms, multi-screen advertising provides brands with a solution that will allow you to reach your audience wherever they are.

With traditional broadcast being challenged and often neglected by consumers with the power of choice at their fingertips, it’s essential that brands realise this is a strategy for improving reach, frequency and effectiveness.

Go forth and multiply cross screen brands…

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Google Moderator

What

Google Moderator is a service launched in 2008 that uses crowdsourcing to rank comments and questions from users to allow high volume management. Anyone can participate, that’s the main rule of thumb.

Why

Knowing and understanding what your audience are thinking and what they want is critical. By opening up the communication with your site visitors you’ll get to know and understand your audience, plus everyone gets their say, so, you get a rounded opinion.

How

Create a Google account, enter your question or topic, decide whether you want to allow both text and video responses, and decide how long your poll will run for.

And if you want to get clever you can play around with embedding it on a Google sites page, an iFrame or use the API…

You can read more about that here if you like

Who

Barack Obama used it quite early on in a public series called ‘Open for Questions’ which attracted 1m votes during the election in 48 hours.

But the guys attracting a lot of attention at the moment are Victors and Spoils. Founded in 2010 on the premise of crowdsourcing the agency enlists a database of 5,200 freelancers from around the globe. Their most recent project (and the reason I decided to write this blog post) is Virgin America Toronto Provocateur, which was designed and written using Google Moderator to launch the new service to Toronto. You can read more here (you’ll need to scroll down).

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Social Commerce

First came the Social Network (thank you Mr Zuckerberg) which, connects over half a billion users. Now the big chiefs of the online world are all competing to be the first to properly monetise these social platforms and evolve them into revenue streams.

Currently there are strong influencing factors online that persuade us to purchase (or not). Take Amazon as an example, long have they recognised the successes in recommending products based on your purchase history, viewing activity and the trends of like minded shoppers. It wasn’t long before this simple model was adapted and adopted by many other commerce platforms and now we’re seeing this evolve to include more personal input; take Google’s search tool launched last year, this pulls through recommendations and reviews from your friends and family around the term you’re searching for. Admittedly it didn’t spread like wild fire but the theory is strong.

If you’re looking to buy a film and Amazon or Google tell you via Facebook that your friends think it’s ace, you’re more likely to buy it right? In fact, according to last years Econsultancy survey 90 per cent of purchases have some level of influence from the social arena.

The bit that seems to have everyone up in arms is the public display of your spending habits. Tools such as Blippy publish your transactions in real time encouraging those in your social circle to view and comment. The question is: Is this an honest and open way of sharing your trends, habits and interests or, is it really just a way of bragging about how you splash your cash? Is it about status or is it about making informed decisions in the impulsive world of online commerce and then seeking the reassurance you’ve made the right choice?

Do you really want people to know you get your knickers from M&S and not Agent Provocateur?

Either way, 2011 is marked to be the year that bucks the Social Commerce trend so, if you’re serious about your business stop waiting in the wings and get yourself a strategy… Fast!

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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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