Tag Archives: social media

New Social Order: Why Everything You Learned About Social Media is Wrong?

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“Messaging is the new web browser. Everyone has a phone. Everyone has a favourite messaging app on their phone. If your new thing can message people via those apps, then anyone can engage with you.”

Matt McAlister (Guardian) 

Social media has been good to me. I used to work in MySpace in its heyday. I mostly made my name after that doing many succesful Facebook campaigns. I have exploited all the useful social media channels in promoting my books, parties and whatever else I have been doing. Majority of readers to this blog come from Twitter and LinkedIn.

That being said, social media is not what it used to be. It has become big business. It has become boring. It has become predictable. Essentially social media has reached the adulthood.

Marketers took a while to learn the ropes of social media. Now we have to unlearn everything we knew about social media if we want to succeed in the new marketplace:

  1. Social media listening is becoming meaningless

70% of the social discussions cannot be tracked because they happen in ”dark social” e.g. in messenger platforms and to lesser extend e-mail and SMS (older demographics). All the social media listening tools are focusing heavily on Twitter with some Instagram and Facebook mixed in. That is hardly a representative of almost any audience. Social media listening tools focus on Twitter because it is easy to monitor. That is like only doing biceps at the gym, because it is the most convenient movement to do. The reality is that you don´t know what your audience is talking about in digital and most likely will not be able to know in the near future.

Regard social media listening as a pulse (or weak signal) of what is happening, but not the full accurate picture of your audience and what they are talking about. Unless your audience are ”social media gurus” and celebrities.

  1. Engagement with your audience is a myth

Facebook is not social media; it is paid media. There is no organic reach for the brands anymore. You have to approach Facebook with same tools and methods as TV (expect with slightly better targeting opportunities). The most interesting bit about Facebook is the whole ecosystem with WhatsApp, FB Messenger and Instagram. Referring to previous point, we might not know what people are talking on WhatsApp but soon we can target ads based on what they are talking.

Forget always-on, approach Facebook through campaigns. Do less, but bigger things. For smaller things, automate as much as possible.

  1. Chatbots are the magic bullet to bring utility to social and make brands meaningful

The whole digital experience will start to revolve around messengers. The real value brands can bring is not in human relationships, but in human-machine relationships. Community manager –model is not sustainable as it requires actual people running it. Seeing a social post of pizza will not improve your life, but ability to order pizza from the messenger will (or make it worse depending on how many pizzas you eat a week). Conversational commerce will be the biggest opportunity for the brands in the short run to become meaningful in digital sphere.

Define how you can bring value to your audience through messenger with chatbots. Move fast because your competitors are most likely thinking about the same things as well.

  1. Influencers and partnerships are the key to borrow relevance

Ad-blocking is becoming more and more prevalent. Whether your ad is in Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, the default setting for your audience will be to block it. Only way to overcome ad-blocking is Again brands should not play in human-human relationships, but as an enhancer and enabler of star-human relationship. You have to start working with relevant influencers and start creating native content with the relevant media entitities. The answer to ad-blocking is not making better ads, because once you have blocked your ads you will not unblock them just because quality of interruptions has improved.

Go where your audience is and play with their rules.

  1. Forget social media

Like said earlier, the digital behavior will start (has already started) to revolve around messengers. That will be a melting pot of social, mobile and eCommerce and you have to understand that whole melting pot to succeed in the new marketplace. Our audience is not slicing and dicing their life. Messengers are lifeline of their whole existence and there is no boundaries between real-life and digital.

Your audience does not live in silos. You should not select your vendors to specialize in silos either. 

New social order has been here for already quite a while. Is your company ready for it?

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Social Media is Not A Conversation, It is A Shouting Match

“Pope Francis, who is a great man, gave his first interview after being elected to Eugenio Scalfari, an Italian journalist who is also a self-proclaimed atheist. It was a sign: real dialogue isn’t about talking to people who believe the same things as you. Social media don’t teach us to dialogue because it is so easy to avoid controversy… But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap.”
Zygmont Bauman

Digital tools and social media have changed our lives. Not all the change has been for good. In theory we have more opportunities to discuss with various people, but actually we are surrounding ourselves with homogenous group of people who have similar background and similar opinions as we have. Because we can select what we read, majority of people settle for narrow worldview and just plain lies. Unfortunately nowadays it is ok to be ignorant and thanks to social media, you can surround yourself with other ignorant people.

We would have the opportunity to listen to opposite views, but instead we block them. We overreact to tweets, blog posts and snapchats if they do not conform to our worldview. You cannot be sarcastic anymore, because someone will not understand your humor. If you have to explain it is humor, the game is already lost. Especially the problem is obvious with millennials.

“My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective “helicopter” parents mapping their every move.”
– Brett Easton Ellis (Generation Wuss about millennials)

Essentially social media has just made us bunch of weak crybabies without any sense of humor. Or maybe we have always been them, but now it is just socially acceptable.

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Yes, David Bowie is Dead But Your Brand Should Not Care

David Bowie was a great musician, whose music will live on for a long time. Because he was such an iconic figure, there has been unleash of public tributes I don´t remember encountering since Lemmy died. All of those public tributes I can understand. The death came as a surprise and people want to showcase their empathy in social media.

However what made me sick this:

crocsbowie

Real-time advertising can be valuable tool, but you should remember the following rules:

1) Just because everyone is talking about it, that does not mean they want you to join the conversation. If you don´t have anything valuable to add to the mix, stay away.
2) If your product is not relevant to what is happening do not jump on the bandwagon (Jack Daniels works with Lemmy, ugly rubber boots not necessarily that well with Bowie)
3) If you have to jump on bandwagon (when in doubt: don´t jump) at least be respectable

Milk and Lemmy don´t necessarily mix that well, but apparently you can do that with a good taste and respect.
4) Generally it is easier to create real-time content on happier topics than death.
5) If what you are doing feels that it makes you a jerk, that is a strong indication that you should not be doing it.

And don´t even start with “every publicity is good publicity”-bullshit, although Crocs Facebook page has not probably gotten this much traction in a long time.

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#sometrendit2016: The Only 2016 Social Media Trends You Should Read

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As the year approaches the end, it has become an annual tradition for me take a look at crystal ball and share my views with Kurio Social Media Agency on the next year´s social media trends.

For those adapt at Finnish, I recommend reading the whole report. If you are not interested in the predictions of 28 other Finnish digital marketers, you can also jump straight to the most important ones (mine) below.

Before I go into my answers, I have to quote myself from the last year:

I have to say that I have not been interested in social media as such for a long time. Do not get me wrong. Social plays crucial role in digital business. But I seldom think digital as a separate entity either: digital is air. Digital, mobile and social should be a part of every business. Sometimes at the core, sometimes playing supporting role and sometimes playing no role at all. Strategy is about deciding what to do, but even more importantly what not to do. If you are thinking social media as a separate unit you are missing the bigger picture. 

The dominance of digital universe goes well beyond our traditional silos.

And here are the bold/boring predictions of 2016:

  1. 1. Biggest Social Media Trend in 2016?

Internet will be build more and more upon instant messaging. We have moved to the latest phase of Internet: the Age of Messaging. What is most interesting, who will be the master of that era? If previous phase was the Age of Social and Facebook was the undisputed king, is it able to keep its lead? Currently it seems with the dual-strategy of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger that Facebook will continue to dominate.

2. Social media platforms to look out for 2015?
Last year I was speculating about anonymous messaging and those services were not able to live up the hype. On the same speculative tip, I would keep an eye on live-streaming platforms like Periscope. It is easy to recognize the opportunities Periscope can bring to the brands. Bigger question is will they be truly interesting to actual users?

It is worthwhile to keep an eye on WeChat, because what it does today in China, Facebook will do in western world tomorrow with its Facebook messenger.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2015?

The huge portion (probably somewhere around 3/4) of sharing in social media is so-called “dark social”. This means that social media listening gives one-sided and even totally faulty picture about what people are really talking about. People share where the brands play no role.

This is great for consumers, because brands are not ruining your conversation or begging you to like them. It makes our work way more difficult. Established channels like FB and YouTube are 100% paid media. To some IM services you cannot get even when you are paying. There is no such thing as earned media anymore.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2015?

Content marketing.

Despite all the hoopla about native advertising and new content agencies, the division of labor is simple. In Internet there is only good (or bad) content or good (mostly bad) ads. Ad agencies have shown that they cannot truly create content and content marketers have not been good at creating ads (which essentially move products of the shelves). There is role for both counterparts, but it is utter stupidity to think that you could replace one with another. Or that one agency could be great at creating both of them.

To see what I have been predicting in previous years, see the following links:

Social Media trends 2013

Social Media trends 2014

Social Media trends 2015

 

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What My Disdain for Grateful Dead Can Teach About Branding

Music has played crucial part of my life. It started with hiphop and heavy metal and has throughout the years expanded to almost every possible genre. One cult band that I have however never truly understood has been Grateful Dead. The hippy band is know for their marathon gigs like this:

I am not the biggest fan on The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa or Bruce Springsteen, but I still can get why people love them so much. I noticed that Grateful Dead was doing their farewell gig (to celebrate their 50th anniversary) on this July and that prompted me to again test some of their material on Spotify.

Nothing.

Nada.

Zip.

I totally fail to realize what makes people to devote a cult following to band so bland. Maybe it is because I don´t do drugs or have not been part of the hippy movement. On the other hand I don´t gangbang, but I still truly enjoy and find resonance in N.W.A.´s music. Grateful dead remains as a big enigma for me and to many others as well.

Grateful Dead

Some old hippies

“We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.”
Jerry Garcia

But why would I care about Grateful Dead? Or why would Grateful Dead care about me? I am not their core audience. If you are selling licorice, you don´t need to care about people who don´t like or licorice. This is the fault that many marketers have. They mistakenly believe that their target audience is everyone, which is hardly ever the case. If your target audience is everyone the individual purchase is small. When you have focused audience, you can ask for premium price.

Brands get super touchy-feely when blogger outside their target audience says something negative. It does not matter at all. Focus on your cult following. If you want to create a cult around your brand, you have to also alienate the non-brand followers. For deadhead, there are only “we” and “they”. If your product is only meant for alpha-male blokes, why should you worry about offending women ot vice versa?

“In the 1960s, Grateful Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts that businesses across all industries use today.
Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott (Marketing Lessons From Grateful Dead)

Although listening to Grateful Dead is equivalent of water torture, I have to applaud their business acumen. They were never high on the charts, but were able to focus on small devoted and lucrative audience. They kept the loyal customers happy and did not waste their efforts on trying to get new and fickle customers. Funnily enough, there are at least two books dedicated to business lessons from Grateful Dead.

Brands spend much of effort on parity. They want to make their brand easy to compare with other brands. That is the main fault. If you create your own category, the customer has only two choices: either buy or not. Love it or hate it. Ambivalence is not an option.

“They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones that do what they do.”
-Bill Graham

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The Only 2015 Social Media Trends You Need to Read This Year

As the year approaches the end, it has become an annual tradition for me take a look at crystal ball and share my views to Kurio Digital Marketing Think Thank on the next year´s social media trends. For those adapt at Finnish, I recommend reading the whole report in here. If you are not interested in the predictions of 26 other Finnish digital marketers, you can also jump straight to the most important ones (mine) below.

Before going through the actual answers, I have to say that I have not been interested in social media as such for a long time. Do not get me wrong. Social plays crucial role in digital business. But I seldom think digital as a separate entity either: digital is air. Digital, mobile and social should be a part of every business. Sometimes at the core, sometimes playing supporting role and sometimes playing no role at all. Strategy is about deciding what to do, but even more importantly what not to do. If you are thinking social media as a separate unit you are missing the bigger picture. The dominance of digital universe goes well beyond our traditional silos.

Having got that off my chest, here are my most important social media trends for 2015:

1. Biggest Social Media Trend in 2015?

One-Size does not fit all
No more social media army knives. Consumers demand services excelling in one feature instead of having multiple mediocre features crammed into one. It is no longer about maximizing users in one single service (Facebook), but maximizing the time spent on the whole ecosystem (WhatsApp, Instagram, FB Messenger). How different services will or not be integrated together is big strategic question and will have implications on what channels companies should be using to reach their target audience.

2. Social media platforms to look out for 2015?

Anonymous and Interest-based networks
Anononymous chat apps (i.e. Whisper & Secret) are definitely interesting. It remains to be seen, can they do the jump to the next level like Snapchat has done.
Even in 2014 discussion forums are still alive and kicking. This is one proof that, there is demand for interest-based social network with underlying idea ”It is not who you are, but what you are interested in”. Ello cannot make it and current anynomous chat apps focus more on filth, rumors and spying. All of those activities are naturally great, but is it enough for these apps to make it to the major league is a billion dollar valuation question.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2015?

Wrong teams doing wrong things with wrong budgets to wrong clients
From business logic perspective, Facebook and YouTube are more traditional advertising than social media. When you sponsor a post in Facebook, you should invest as much or even more to it than to a print ad. Emphasizing the verb “should”. Many marketers have not understood the shift in dynamics in digital marketing. Facebook is new print. YouTube is the new TV. Some marketers still have the illusion that digital is either free or cheap and you do not have to worry about production values. They could not be more wrong.
On the other hand, some marketers misinterpret the rising digital ad prices and increased resemblance to traditional ad buying logic to just pushing your TV ads to YouTube or print ads to Facebook. They could not be more wrong. Although the prices are getting closer, the creative should be drastically different.
Eyeballs cost money and you do not have loopholes for free publicity any more. If you are not ready to take risks, be honest and bold, catching the attention of consumers is even harder, almost impossible regardless of the media budget.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2015?

Ello
There has been a simple reason why I have not written anything about Ello in this blog. It is not interesting at all. Diaspora and Ello are manifestations that consumers are not really that interested in privacy, your personal data usage in advertising or in pretty much anything else that you should be interested as a conscious consumer. The problem is that majority of consumers are not that conscious.

5. Biggest social media wish for the next year?

Wishes are for people, who do not make demands.
I actually read through my last year´s predictions and I still think they are valid stuff as well. So if you did not find trends suitable to your liking in this list, I recommend reading that one.

Happy holidays to every one! I still might have couple of posts left in tank for this year, but soon going for a deserved holiday.

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Why Do We Need Dislike Button to Facebook?

dislikebutton
The like button is valuable because it’s a quick way to share a positive sentiment. Some people have asked for a dislike button so they can say something isn’t good, and we’re not going to do that. I don’t think that’s good for the community.
Mark Zuckerberg

It is obvious that Mark Zuckerberg is not Finnish or even Singaporean for that matter. If Facebook would have dislike button, the usage would soar in certain countries. Disliking is much more honest act than boring liking. I would love to dislike all the boring status updates in my feed. Hiding the users seems so permanent. Dislike would be like yellow card in football: no more those inane updates or you get booted. I think the people would appreciate that as well: sometimes we get blinded by our own excellence that we don´t realize that it is not interesting in a larger scale at all.

The thing I think are really valuable is there are more sentiments just than people like something. There are things in people’s lives that are sad, or that or tragic, and people don’t want to Like them. We’ve talked about for a while how can people express a wider range of emotions like surprise.
Mark Zuckerberg

Disdain, hate and anger are valid human emotions and Facebook has missed an opportunity because people cannot express them. The force-fed positivity of Facebook makes you like photos of people presenting their meat trophies and showing off their boring holiday pictures. Occasional dislike would put them on check and remind them that they are not so special.

Not to mention like Zuckerberg already pointed out, you can use like-button for bad purposes as well. Someone updates that he got divorced, like it. Cat has died, like it. Someone has gotten a tropical disease, like it.

How evil is that behavior?

Like is the lightest-weight way to express positive sentiment. I don’t think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment wou ld be that valuable.
Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin

Why it would not be valuable?

At least dislike is honest representation of true human feeling: I do not really approve your message. You cannot be positive all the time.

Of course it might be cruel to people as not everyone has been growing their thick skin in real life, where you might get negative comments occasionally as well. It might also read to cyber-bullying and other abuse, which you cannot escape in Facebook in any case. So it will be unlikely (no pun intended) that we will get dislike button for Facebook users anytime soon. However, there is a special group that would really need the dislike:

Brands & Facebook advertisements

Dislike would be even more helpful for the brands than like. Majority of people liking comments from the brand are just waiting promotions, working in agencies or cannot read. Dislike button would be a real-time barometer of how people feel about your ads. Brands cannot get upset. Brands cannot be bullied or abused. Dislike button would show the reality for many brands. Currently as people cannot really show their true (negative) feelings in Facebook, brands have too rosy picture of the current state of their brand. Dislike button would be a much-needed reality check for the affectivity of your ads and measure for real human sentiment. It would evolve the Facebook ads to real-time research and would maybe be a business opportunity for Facebook.

I cannot wait to start disliking different brands in Facebook.
reallydislike

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#OperationAirKangKang: Why You Should Not Hustle People in Internet Age?

Internet has not made us safe from con artists. However, thanks to Internet, it is harder to keep scamming people. The frauds are exposed and shared faster. The backlash for them is also fierce.
On recent days the whole Singapore has been buzzing about one fishy store in Sim Lim Square (famous mall in Singapore for buying electronics and getting conned). The shop called Mobile Air first refunded $1000 dollars in coins to Chinese tourist:
Refunding with coins
Then they scammed Vietnamese tourist of his two-months worth of salary and made him beg and kneel with the refund:
Begging for refund
These are not isolated acts and the store has gotten over 25 complaints in just three months. Mobile Air is also not the only shady operator at the same venue as news about other cheats has been reported.
Previously these outrageous acts would have been forgotten and maybe addressed by officials later or not. Enter the Internet. Now thanks to certain anonymous individuals this thing has been exposed and “the justice” is served.

There four important lessons to be learned about the whole incident:

1. If you have deal too good to be true. It usually is.
This serves as a reminder for all of us consumers.
If you are sold brand stuff (iPhone 6, Rolex Watches, etc.) at below the market prices, they are either fakes, stolen or there is some string attached. According to former Mobile Air worker, the scam with Mobile Air was to lure person with the best price. Then you sign a contract, which forces you to take an extra $1000 warranty. No one reads the fine print, but it still is a binding agreement. When you demand refund you are bullied to not get on it.
Mobile air supervisor compared these totally unforgivable tactics to chicken rice price difference in high-end hotel and food court (as if stall in Sim Lim Square is comparable to high-end hotel). In desperate attempt to justify this scam he likened it to upselling you jeans if you buy a top.
Pardon my French, but bitch, please.

2. Clever scam artists don´t draw attention to themselves
Mobile air is not the only dubious merchant in Sim Lim Square. If you want to keep doing your dirty deeds you better do it smoothly. If you refund 1000 dollars with coins and publicly humiliate people you are just begging to get caught eventually. Best (or worst depending on your viewpoint) deceptions are the ones you do not even realize that you are have been scammed.

3. Citizen punishment can be harsher than the capital one
The owner of the Mobile Air has been thoroughly exposed thanks to the troll site SMRT Ltd (Feedback). Basically they have collected enough info on him to do an identity theft (address, phone number, email, etc.) To see the whole scope of the activities, I recommend reading this full lowdown.
The guys (I assume they are guys) are really ripping him apart and based on their latest post, they will just keep going:

//

Citizen vigilantism is a double-edged sword. At its best it helps to bring justice to people when official organizations have failed the individual. At its worst it will activate Internet lynch mobs with incomplete information but a lot of hatred. With Jover Chew dude though, it reminds me of the old saying: you reap, what you sow. You can check how things unfold by following the hashtag #operationairkangkang.4. It is now easier to be involved
Searching for dirt on wrongdoer is quite extreme way to find justice. What has really delighted me though is that Singaporeans have pledged over 10k for that poor Vietnamese guy to get him an iPhone 6 in Indiegogo.

I just hope that this fundraiser is not a scam as well.

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How To Approach Your Social Media Strategy in 2014?

Year 2014 will be turbulent for both brands and agencies working with social media channels. Because of the recent IPO´s (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), the previous rebels have started to resemble more established media houses. It is a double-edged sword. Many agencies are not as stressed out as the social media ecosystem is more predictable (and none of the innovation labs is making money anyway). On the other hand, the activities have been and increasingly will be quite dull and unimaginative.

Beginning of the year is the time to think your social media strategy. For majority of the brands, year 2014 should be year of revolution instead of just evolution:

1.Facebook is the channel for reach.
Majority of your social media paid media investments should happen in Facebook to maximize the reach. In terms of sheer amount of users, it is dominant. However, the recent developments have been really worrying for brand (and other) pages as well. Certain pages have seen dips as low as 88% in organic reach. Even Facebook itself is not talking anymore about free organic reach, but instead brand pages as a way to increase the reach of the paid media. This is natural advancement and should not surprise everyone familiar with market economy. So I believe that Facebook will get bigger media share in 2014, but actually less focus in terms of engagement. I would invest more in those terms with Twitter (customer service, real-time marketing) and to visual platforms (content creation).

2.Use Twitter as the channel for real-time and customer service.
I am not saying that every brand should necessarily be in Twitter, but if you want to jump on the real-time marketing bandwagon, Twitter is the place to be. I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter throughout the years, but despite all the shortcomings the service has proven its worth. It does certain things really well (like customer service), and provides more natural ways to engage with audience than Facebook. Here is example of random interaction with Warby Parker, after I shared their innovative annual report:
Warby Parker Tweet

3.Invest heavily on visual social media channels.
Whereas online media money is going to Facebook, I would concentrate majority of the production and engagement investments to visual social platforms. No one has time to read text anymore, unless you are able to condense it to 140 characters or say it in photo.
Online video has been the fastest growing online ad format for couple of years. Naturally the pre-roll is the TVC of the new generation, but creation of good content provides great reach & engagement opportunities for brands. Video is a great tool for customer service as well:

Besides video, the photos are naturally huge and I expect the short-form video content to rise rapidly (Instagram video, Vine). Especially tutorials are naturally fit to for shorter video content (Check: #lowesfixinsix).
Many companies should actually rethink their community manager talent pool. In 2014 if you cannot take great photo or shoot a great video, you should not probably be community manager.  Social media used to be more verbal, but now it is increasingly more visual.

4. Embrace the renaissance of anonymous randomness.
Contrary to what Facebook says, many people want to remain anonymous while online. 6% of all adults on Internet use Reddit. People engage way more on Tumblr blogs nowadays than on Facebook brand pages. One reason is that not all the people want to attach their Internet personality to real-life. In Internet you can be that backpacker hiphop-dude you really are and do not need even remotely to try to sound smart. It actually reminds me of the original promise of MySpace. You did not need to use it with your real name. You could make a site for your cat if you fancied. Anonymity can naturally bring some problems, such as hate-speech, crime and stuff but it also enables refreshing randomness that is currently missing from Facebook. Many people are more interesting talking about things they are interested and not about themselves (assuming they are not completely narcissistic). So do not underestimate the power of “anonymous” social media channels. Maybe Yahoo was on to something when it bought Tumblr.

5.Experiment with the new upcoming channels.
I have written before about how you should approach your social media strategy like investor. The landscape in terms of the hot newcomers changes really rapidly. Global brands should nowadays be more tuned into what is happening on local level. Experimenting with various social media channels goes hand in hand with that. For example if you had done tests with Path, it would be easier to utilize the learnings in Indonesia (which is the third-biggest Path user country). The innovation in social media sphere is also not limited only to Silicon Valley anymore so cutting-edge firms should empower their local teams to experiment with local social media channels as well. For example WeChat is way more advanced than WhatsApp. Competitive advantage can come from everywhere. The trick is to identify it, experiment with it and scale it.

There will interesting year ahead. In 2014 companies need to dramatically update and revamp the social media strategies. Which is great. Whenever there is turmoil and crisis, there is always an opportunity.

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6 Seconds of Fame: Idiot´s Guide to Vine

I heard it through the grapevine, that Vine has been all the rage in the social media circles last couple of weeks.

Here is brief summary what it is all about:

What is Vine?
It is basically Instagram for short videos. Twitter mastered the microblogging with 140 characters and now it is aiming to do the same with microvlogging and six seconds. Vine currently works only in iPhone and best in conjunction with Twitter. Vine was launched on the end of January.

What it supposed to be?
“Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.”
Dom Hoffman, co-founder & GM, Vine

How it works?
Go to Apple app store and download the Vine app. Then you (preferably) log on with your Twitter handle to the app. After that start shooting. The process is super simple: press what you want to film with your thumb. Then edit what you filmed to 6 second video. Share it on Twitter.
To use Vine is really intuitive and simple, but to make something worthwhile takes probably more than just six seconds.

How does it look like?

More examples can be found here.

What Twitter has to do with it?
In a way Twitter missed the Instagram bandwagon, so Vine is natural leap from photo sharing. It tries to benefit from the overall rise of visual storytelling in our current digital culture. It´s a little bit Instagram, little bit YouTube, little bit funny GIFs and working solely on your mobile. Twitter wants to strengthen it dominance in the short-form messaging and Vine is at least some sort of answer.

What brands already use it?
General Electric, Taco Bell, McDonald´s, Marriott Hotel, Urban Outfitters to name a few. Also porn industry has found it, like all the technological breakthroughs.

Give me some examples!
Not showing you the porn ones, but here are three Brand vines:

What brands should use it?
If your brand is already strong on Twitter, Vine is quite natural extension to your Twitter presence. If your company is not that active in Twitter, Vine probably is not the first social media channel you should invest in.

Where it can be used?
There are couple of good listings about potential use cases of Vine for brands, but currently I think the most prominent ones are the following six:

1. Flashing your brand´s digital cojones: Like with all new applications, there is currently the short timeframe when your brand can appear to be on top of the curve. Half-baked Vine executions will probably fill Twitter in the following weeks.
2. Improving your customer service: Short how-to guides about the products.
3. Spicing up the internal marketing: Employee presentations made more interesting and faster.
4. Even faster way to convince investors: Quick elevator pitch for your company.
5. Enhancing your rapid social media responses: Wheat Thins message to Questlove above is a good example of that.
6. Making your product catalogue come alive: New ways to showcase products (like Urban Outfitters has done below)

Hot or not?
Some might argue that Vine is a novelty app, but so is Instagram. That novelty had $715 million price tag. It remains to be seen will the 6 seconds be as revolutionary as 140 characters were. Vine has potential though. It is certainly something new. With its strong social, local and mobile dimensions it might just be the new killer app.

Now I am just waiting for Harlem Shake Vine edition.

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