Hello, we are social. We’re a global conversation agency, with offices in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney & São Paulo. We help brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media.
We’re a new kind of agency, but conversations between people are nothing new. Neither is the idea that ‘markets are conversations’.

We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.

If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on +44 20 3195 1700 or drop us an email.

Social networking and UK voters

by Paul Greenwood in News

With the UK General Election now just weeks away, campaigning is in full swing. But this year, it’s not just traditional media that the parties are using to reach their audiences – we’re seeing more political activity taking place on social media than ever before.

But how engaged are social media users when it comes to politics, and will a social media strategy potentially make a difference when it comes to persuading those sought after undecided voters? GlobalWebIndex has tried to answer some of these questions in its latest report detailing the attitudes and digital behaviours amongst UK voters.

GlobalWebIndex found that all voter groups, bar those who vote Conservative, are spending more than one hour daily engaged on social networks. Green Party supporters are the most engaged voters spending around 1.62 hours on social media daily, followed by SNP voters with 1.57 hours.  It is clear then, that social networks are a potentially useful tool to connect with party supporters.

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The report also found the most popular network amongst all voters is, unsurprisingly, Facebook. Green Party supporters had the highest Facebook levels, with 85% claiming to have an account, as well as the highest active usage at 56%. While SNP supporters had the lowest user figure, it was still a fairly significant 73%. But of course, this is preaching to the converted. What will perhaps be more interesting to the parties is that 49% of those who are undecided about their vote are actively using Facebook on a monthly basis.

So far so good. The potential is clearly there to connect with voters on social, but are politicians using their own channels to communicate effectively with voters? GlobalWebIndex’s figures suggest perhaps not. The voters most likely to follow politicians on social media are Lib Dem supporters, and even then, only 14% say that they do. For the undecideds that figure is as low as 3%.

Politicians can take some heart from the fact that the report found that the volumes of people who follow journalists are similarly low; perhaps people aren’t ready to make a conscious decision to opt in to content from these figures on what still feels like a personal space.

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The percentages for those who’ve talked about politics online in the last month are low too, ranging from a high of 12% for Green supporters to just 4% for Tory supporters and 2% of the undecideds. However, given GlobalWebIndex’s research took place before the full force of the TV debates came into play, along with the tension of the last few weeks of campaigning, one would hope these figures would rise by May.

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For more information on the social networking habits of UK voters, as well as analysis of their broader attitudes and digital behaviours, you can download the full Voters in the UK Report from GlobalWebIndex.

Facebook gears up for eastern invasion

by Tom Ollerton in News

The Drum recently published this article by me about how Facebook Messenger is making changes in order to compete with eastern messaging apps. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.

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The Doors’ Jim Morrison once sung “the west is the best”. Whatever he was talking about, I can assure you it doesn’t apply to instant messaging. Here in the UK, we’re fixated by WhatsApp, the little green giant and, to be honest, it’s a pretty basic product.

While WhatsApp has upped its game recently with voice calling and Facebook integration, if you look to the east, there has been an arms race of creativity and functionality.  Platforms such as WeChat, Kik, Viber and Line are so far removed from WhatsApp that it’s hard to compare them as like-for-like IM platforms. It’s almost like lining up a chrome browser with a black and white TV.

In stark contrast to WhatsApp’s deliberately fuss free provision, Tencent-owned, China-based WeChat is a colourful experience. It’s not as big as WhatsApp, with around 460m monthly active users to WhatApp’s 700m, but there’s a lot more to it. It feels more like a social network than a messaging app.

Chatting with friends, gaming, banking – even ordering a taxi or paying for a burger – WeChat offers multiple possibilities. Its “Moments” feature is similar to Facebook’s news feed, allowing users to share posts with their contacts, long with a number of other Facebook-like features. Businesses are all over it too, with global brands like adidas and Burberry and McDonalds using it within their marketing.

But perhaps we need to stop comparing WeChat and WhatsApp.  WhatsApp has a very specific selling point – the fact it is (currently) ad free and straightforward, and many consumers will want to keep it that way. However, there is clearly huge potential for an all singing, all dancing IM platform, if adoption in the east is anything to go by. WhatsApp doesn’t fit the bill and perhaps never will. WeChat is making some traction but is not yet instilled in mainstream social media use here. And it looks like a certain social media giant is determined not to make it an easy ride for them.

Enter, Facebook Messenger. Starting with a 500m-strong user base, Messenger is in a strong position to become the west’s creative messaging platform of choice. Last month, Facebook opened up its Messenger API to developers so that instead of building their own user base, which is difficult and expensive, they can just jump on Facebook’s platform. To me, this has a lot of symmetry with Apple releasing the iPhone followed by the app store, allowing developers to create uses of the Operating System. Zuckerberg will be hoping that same thing happens on Messenger.

Cue an influx of animated Gifs, apps that turn personal messages into songs, and more. Opening out to third party developers is a tactic that’s worked for Facebook before – as anyone who’s been invited to play a spot of Farmville (hasn’t everyone?) on the platform can attest to. A payment button has now been added that allows users to send money to friends.  And last week, Facebook launched a dedicated web interface for Messenger – something WeChat did over a year ago.

My prediction is that we’ll continue to see the best ideas that currently exist on WeChat and its eastern IM counterparts crop up on Facebook Messenger. It’s an intelligent play from Facebook and it stands a good chance of succeeding and if it does they will be able to fend off plays in this market from KIK, Line, WeChat and so on. And of course, as Facebook already owns WhatsApp, pitching Messenger as the more creative alternative means the platform is able to diversity its IM product range, increasing its likelihood of dominance in the sector.

What should brands be doing about Facebook Messenger right now? In the near future, I’d recommend keeping a very close eye on what content is being shared by their target audiences in the apps that already integrate with Messenger. Facebook has 40 Messenger partners, including ESPN, who will be vying for consumers’ attention and undoubtedly not all of them will fare well in the notoriously personal space that is messaging. I’d also recommend getting clued up on what brands are doing on WeChat, Line and others. Messaging is evolving fast, and while the east may rule the IM landscape at the moment, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes equally as important in the west, too.

Profiling the Twitter Audience

by Stephanie Weise in News

GlobalWebIndex has produced an infographic which shows how people are engaging with Twitter. It shows a large volume of people are  visiting Twitter without thinking of themselves as active users, demonstrated by the fact the percentage of  internet users globally who consider themselves Twitter users is 10% lower than that of Twitter visitors.

This difference in active users and visitors is most significant in Latin America and the Middle East & Africa. These results highlight Twitter’s ‘unregistered audience’; Twitter appears to be engaging more people than is widely recognised.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #257

by Nick Mulligan in News

Social ad spend to hit $23 billion globally
New figures from eMarketer show that advertisers will splash out a huge $23.6bn on social networks this year, a 33.5% increase on 2014. The publication estimates that, by 2017, this figure will rise to $35.98bn, or 16% of digital ad spend globally. Unsurprisingly, a lot of this investment is finding its way to Facebook. eMarketer estimates that the social giant will collect $15.5bn in ad revenues this year – that’s 65.5% of all social network ad spending worldwide.

Mobile use overtakes desktop for first time
This year, time spent on mobile devices by UK adults daily will surpass that spent online via desktop and laptop computers. eMarketer estimates that UK adults will spend two hours and 26 minutes each day with mobile devices this year, up 27 minutes on 2014 and an almost fivefold increase from 2011. eMarketer calls the growth ‘vigorous’ – we’d be hard pressed to disagree.

Sport and entertainment get us tweeting about TV
When it comes to tweeting about TV, sport is what’s capturing our attention, according to Kantar. It found that 42.3% of UK tweets about TV were related to sports, followed by 38.1% about entertainment. Second screeners were common (63% of respondents) but a large majority of them said what they were doing was unrelated to the TV content they were watching.

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Facebook owns four of the five largest social networks
Facebook has rather a lot of users. Projected Q1 2015 figures from Business Insider show quite how many, especially when you take into account the other platforms it owns. Of all social networks and messaging apps, Facebook is the largest with 1.43 billion projected monthly active users, followed by WhatsApp with 725 million. In third place we have Facebook Messenger (600 million) and fifth Instagram (300 million). In fact, WeChat is the only member of the top five that Facebook doesn’t own.

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Teens still care about Facebook
A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that Facebook is still the most-used social network among American teens aged 13-17, as 71% of respondents admitted to using it. This was followed by Instagram (50%) and Snapchat (40%). Boys use the site marginally more than girls, though respective figures of 72% and 70% show that it’s pretty close.

Twitter homepage attracts logged-out users
Twitter has a new homepage, designed for those who either aren’t signed in or are not using the platform at all. Users can click one of a selection of topics to be shown popular tweets around that subject, with categories including Pop Artists, TV Shows & Stars and (of course) Cute Animals. It’s only available in the US at the moment, but expect a broader roll out soon as internet users demand an easier way to find images of puppies in knitwear.

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Twitter suggesting tweets you may like
Twitter is testing a ‘you may also like’ feature on the right-hand-side of individual tweet pages on Twitter.com. The functionality, which you can see below, is currently only available to certain users. Sadly, I’m not one of them.

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Periscope is winning the live-streaming war
Twitter-owned Periscope is growing more quickly than its rival, Meerkat, which has actually seen a dip in its monthly active users since the start of April. Twitter’s superior resources are proving decisive, as are some potentially sneaky tactics, such as cutting off Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph.

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On another, possibly unrelated, note, if you google ‘Meerkat vs.’, it autocompletes with ‘cobra’ ahead of ‘Periscope’. So there you go.

LinkedIn announces Marketo partnership
LinkedIn has partnered with marketing software company, Marketo, which specialises in automating digital marketing across email, social and the wider web. Its software will be combined with LinkedIn’s ‘Lead Accelerator’, which marries data about visits to brand websites with LinkedIn’s own demographic data. It’s essentially aimed at making adverts more relevant and (you guessed it) more profitable.

Snapchat overhauls its ad offering
Snapchat is changing the way it does ads. First of all, it has announced the withdrawal of ‘Brand Stories’, its first ever ad unit, which essentially allowed brands to put photos/video content in front of users that aren’t following them. It’s hinted that this ad format may be coming back in a different form, but for now the focus shifts to ‘Our Story’ and ‘Discover’. The former is set to be renamed and refocussed on live event feeds, as the platform sets to position itself further as a traditional media outlet for the social age.

Tumblr releases version 4.0 of its iOS app
Tumblr has unveiled version 4.0 of its iPhone/iPad app, along with a number of updates. Some of these are aesthetic, including a new icon, new notification widget and gifs that load in a ‘much more pleasing fashion’. Some allow easier blog management, including the ability to start secondary blogs, delete blogs and more easily include videos. To celebrate, here’s a gif. It doesn’t explain much, but it is very pretty.

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Tumblr adds ‘Sponsored Day’ to its ad offering
Tumblr has launched a new ad unit, called a ‘Sponsored Day’, which allows brands to post an ad that will appear at the top of users’ feeds for, well, a whole day. Nike is the first advertiser to get involved, encouraging us all to embrace our ‘uncomfort zone’. Maybe tomorrow, Nike. It’s Monday.

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Foursquare unveils location data ad feature
Foursquare has unveiled a new feature called Pinpoint, which uses its location data for ad targeting across mobile devices and the web. Location data is almost certainly Foursquare’s strongest suit, so this could well be a powerful move by the network.

Add Instagram to your Tinder profile
You can now sync your Instagram and Tinder profiles to show potential partners how much fun your life is, or at least that you can choose a good filter.

First Direct and We Are Social launch #SavingCup
First Direct and We Are Social took to Twitter to promote the bank’s SaveApp product, which helps users swap small purchases to save for big ones. They hired illustrator Mr Bingo to personalise coffee cups with people’s saving goals, including this for a follower who wanted to fly to Disney in Tokyo.

Lenovo and We Are Social create #LightandSeek exhibition Lenovo and We Are Social created a one-day-only art exhibition, powered entirely by the brand’s Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. Dubbed #LightandSeek, users were encouraged to take photos of their favourite pieces and upload them to Twitter using the hashtag. The event was accompanied by a live Instagram guide.

A virtual Instagram run with Reebok
Reebok took Instagram users on a virtual run around San Francisco last week with ‘Hunt the Pump’. Users who followed @zpump_startingline saw a grid of photos, one of which contained a hidden Reebok Pump logo. Liking the photo and clicking the panel took users to the next destination on their ‘run’, where the quest continued. If only it burned calories at the same time… reebokpump2

Nars adds a twist to Twitter competitions
Fashion retailer Nars ran a Twitter campaign last week, in which it encouraged users to tweet about its latest collaboration with Christopher Kane. Every tweet triggered a hammer to knock on one of two orbs located in Nars HQ, depending on whether it came from the UK or US; the two tweets that eventually broke the orb won the prize inside, the complete Nars and Christopher Kane collection.

Paddy Power tweets joke about police brutality
Paddy Power took its “TOP BANTZ” Twitter strategy a little far last week, making a joke that referenced police brutality against young African American men. It’s the latest in a string of intentionally controversial marketing attempts so, while other brands might apologise and remove the tweet, it’s still sat proudly on the Paddy Power Offers page.

Need to know: Social Customer Service

by Giulia Braun in News

At We Are Social, we’ve been working hard to provide the best social customer service for a wide range of clients, across multiple local and global markets. This year, our Expedia team was awarded Qualiweb’s ‘Excellence for Best Social Media Customer Service in the French market. Here, Giulia Braun, senior account manager on Expedia, talks about why great customer service on social is essential for brands.

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Over the years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people contacting brands directly through their social channels – whether they’re requesting support, expressing a complaint or even giving positive feedback. It’s not surprising that many people prefer to send a tweet rather than spend hours on the phone. Social channels have become the go-to place for getting a brand response.

Customer service is often considered the less glamorous side of social media, neglected by marketers who think it’s either expensive or a service that will not benefit the brand through any concrete acknowledgment. But a lack of response to customer queries on a brands’ social channel looks impersonal and solely focused on one-way marketing messages. These are social channels after all. If we don’t respond to customers when they need us, why would they bother engaging with our content, no matter how brilliantly creative it is?

Customers expect to be able to make themselves heard, especially if something hasn’t gone their way, therefore, brands should take this as an opportunity to hear them out and actively try and rectify the situation. This not only ensures damage limitation but it can even turn potential #epicfail situations into positive sentiment. If poor customer experience has a viral effect, so does brilliant customer service, as Virgin demonstrated with this timely intervention:

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So what defines first class social customer service? There are four key elements to consider when managing your customer responses on social:

Timeliness
Tweeting a brand with a query feels much closer to texting than emailing, therefore people expect a very quick response. At We Are Social, we have worked with our community managers to put an effective escalation process is in place, ensuring all issues are handled in the most time-effective way and the most delicate responses get a speedy client sign off.

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Personalisation
Showing the human side of the brand makes people feel looked after, whereas pre-packaged template responses often end up infuriating them. Any brand’s tone of voice can be adapted to ensure that customers feel they’re having a conversation with a human as opposed to a robot and are responding specifically to their query. Of course, you need not necessarily go as far as O2 did in this instance:

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Expertise
Having community managers who are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject area is also key to giving customers genuinely useful support (i.e. travel experts on Expedia and football enthusiasts on adidas, series lovers on Netflix UK).

Transparency
It’s not always possible to solve a problem straightaway, so it’s often a case to manage expectations and let customers know the team is on it and give them a clear deadline their issue will be solved by.  It’s also good practice to include working hours on your channels’ bios so that people know that you’re not ignoring their 3am complaint.

Nailing customer service can grow your business and strengthen the relationship with your audience. Great customer service doesn’t always give you fame and glory, but provides true value to your customers, and a reason to build preference on future purchases. Plus, as Expedia has just discovered, it can actually win you awards.