Tag Archives: selfie

Social Media Trends 2014: The Truth According to Me

Good folks at Kurio Digital Marketing Think Thank asked me (again) and 21 other Finnish digital dudes & dudettes some views of social media trends in 2014.

In many ways the social media scene has matured and the shifts are not as radical as they were few years back. Many of my answers from last year would not be out of place this year (last year trends can be read here). As majority of the readers of my blog cannot read Finnish, I have translated my predictions below. If you can understand Finnish, the report is highly recommended read.

Before going to my answers, it is important to make the distinction between a fad, a trend and a commodity. Every new thing starts out as a fad (i.e. Snapchat is in that phase). Majority just stay as fads (Chatroulette), but certain things evolve to trends (i.e. brands building their Facebook pages few years back). Only very few make their route to become commodities (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube at the moment). Trends do not pay the bills, so usually only when something is commoditized it starts to make safe business sense. In that way you should approach your social media marketing efforts like investor:

70% of investments to commodities (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube)
25% to trends (Taking selfies)
5% to fads (Snapchat, Vine)

This is naturally subject to your risk tolerance and your business majority. If you are start-up with nothing to lose, it might sense to flip it other around. And do not get me wrong, my view is that brands should try to ride the trends and fads more proactively. It is just important to realize their business role (such as learning, gaining the opinion leadership, creating the future competitive advantage). Riding on the fads seldom is the way to reach masses.

So with that caveat my social media trends (with couple of commodities and fads thrown in as well):

 1.Biggest Social Media Trends in 2014: Monetization & Mobile-First
There is two big paradigm shifts which are not really trends, but changes which have already happened but keep
a) Money (Show it)
Twitter did the IPO this year, which will affect the user experience. I doubt that the success will not be as good as with Facebook. Mass social media channels are increasingly more bought media than earned media. Therefore community manager or social media director without also access to bought media budget is a position without any real power. In many ways the advancements in bought media (i.e. programmatic buying) have also been way more interesting in recent years than say in, content marketing.
b) Mobile (First)
The switch to mobile is not a trend, it is a change which has already happened.  Consumers  switch wildly between different channels, platforms, devices and even use them at the same time! This puts extra pressure to understanding the consumer journeys. You cannot really understand those journeys without constant testing, measuring and optimizing. Secret to crack the mobile-first challenge is to think holistically consumer-first.

 2. Social Media platform to look out for in 2014: Anything related to visual storytelling
I have talked about selfies before in this blog and they will not go anywhere next year (hopefully twerking will not disappear either). All the applications, which help you to modify and enhance will be hot items next year. China will show the way in this trend. Also, we have to also remember that selfie is a communication vehicle as itself. Combining IM and visual storytelling will be a big thing. Instagram has actually addressed this already with its Direct offering.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2014: Processes block the real-time success 
Old processes stand in the way of the really great real-time executions. Year 2013 was disappointment in terms of real-time marketing. There were couple of nice stunts, but we should be able to do better than just dunk in the dark (Oreo is still pretty much the only proper case study example). The briefing process that is suitable for traditional big brand campaign just does not fit faster requirements of real-time marketing. My personal New Year promise is to concentrate even more in creating and executing more streamlined, collaborative and more agile way to make real-time success stories next year.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2014: The whole talk of the social media
If you are still in 2014 talking about social media as a separate unit, you are more old-school than the person still using FourSquare. Consumers switch smoothly between devices and platforms and between virtual and real-life like it ain´t no big thing. What is actually the difference between digital and real-life nowadays? How can your firm address the needs and the behaviors of these consumers in every relevant touchpoints? To separate social media from other digital activities or other activities is just laziness and shutting your eyes of the reality. Digital scene is more fragmented than every before. Therefore it is more crucial than ever to create a big picture of those fragments. We do not need any more social media specialists (or digital specialists for that matter). We need 100% digital people who live and breath like their consumers and have the understanding and empathy to connect with them (and also means to be in the right touchpoints).

 5. Biggest social media hope for the next year?
I do not hope, I just do. And measure, optimize and do it again.

Predicting the future is too much work, I rather create history.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Kobe vs. Messi Selfie Shootout

Turkish Airlines taps into the selfie-phenomenon in their new ad:

Insight: Taking a selfie is about telling a story and capturing a moment. The bragging rights in holiday photos are huge. Travel photos constitute big portion of selfies, so it is great connection for airline to build on. It also continues nicely the rivalry theme from the previous ad featuring Kobe & Messi (over 100 million views). Compared to that one, the bridge to actual brand promise is actually tighter. The whole spot ends with the mention that Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any other airline. Just brilliant.

This is a great example of utilizing celebrities in smart way and telling insightful brand story at the same time. Guaranteed to garner millions of views.

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#Selfie: New Way of Communication or The Tipping Point of Narcissism

I ran a marathon last Sunday (in time 3:58:55 if you want to know) and I noticed people taking photos of themselves with smartphones during the run. The act of taking selfies did not seem to cause accidents in Singapore like in Hong Kong, but selfie-taking is truly fascinating phenomenon and the selection as the “word of the year” by Oxford dictionary underlines the importance.

Last year I wrote how Pinterest is the tool for lazy & self-obsessed and cynically you could say that selfie is the tipping point of that laziness and narcissism. You do not even need to be interested about anything particular expect yourself. However, when looking more closely the selfie-picture is more revealing than your average duckface:

Visual storytelling: Selfie is about the process, not the end product
In your average marathon you have professional photographers almost in every turn. So taking a selfie is not about having a photo of yourself, it is about taking the photo as well. Selfie is about being the creator and the subject. How you take the selfie is almost as important as how you look. Do you take the photo from up or down, portrait or landscape and what is your pose? Do you squinch, smize or prune? I think where many analysis go wrong is that taking a selfie is a purely narcissistic endeavor. Many times selfies are not solely about how you look, but what is the message you really want to convey. What is the moment you want to capture? As the visual storytelling becomes more and more important, taking a selfie is same as sending SMS was to my generation. Like Frédéric della Faille (founder of Frontpage) concludes in New York Times article:

“The idea of the selfie is much more like your face is the caption and you’re trying to explain a moment or tell a story. It’s much more of a moment and a story than a photo. It is not about being beautiful.”

When people wondered why Facebook offered three billion for Snapchat, this is the main reason. Selfies are a new communication vehicle. Why Snapchat turned the offer down? Maybe they have clearer vision in the selfie crystal ball than us. Or they are just crazy.

Looking good: Expect the rise of selfie-enhancing tools in 2014
Although me, myself & I are not the only drivers for selfies, they are naturally the main ones. Teenagers taking selfies at funerals or exposing private parts in Snapchat are sad examples of selfies. Selfies strengthen the worrying trend of overtly focus on appearance even at younger age. You are bombarded everywhere with certain beauty ideal, how you will match it?

Well, if you do not have the right looks naturally you can always fake it.

Modification and enchanching the selfies are huge opportunities for innovation and quick monetization. China is leading the way on this one. Meitu Xiu Xiu (super simple photo editor) is already one of the most popular apps there, and Momentcam reached no.1 position in Appstore also beyond the China borders. If people are spending so much time taking photos of themselves, natural next step is that they will spend more time polishing them. That will enable them either to look good (Meitu) or tell their story or capture the current moment better (Momentcam).

The selfie-phenomenon will not disappear soon. More likely we see acceleration in the amount of selfies. What started from teenagers has already expanded to adults. According to Samsung study 30% of all pictures taken by 18-24 year olds are selfies. That is quite many gigabytes of duckfaces. Soon you will see your parents taking selfies. And you remember what happened when your parents joined Facebook?

When the trends get tired is the moment when they come commercially interesting.

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