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.

How to avoid a Twitter fail

by Sabrina Antoniou in News

We recently contributed to an article in B&T on the notorious hashtag and Twitter fails we often see plastered across the industry press.

We thought we’d share a more detailed viewpoint on terrible Tweets, together with some tips on how to avoid the downward spiral into the social pool of ridicule.

Basic common sense should dictate that, in the very least, reading the hashtag before using it (see poor SuBo below) would be prudent. Just in case, here are a few more acid tests to run before your 140 characters see the light of day:

1. Research your hashtags and any new handles to ensure you’re not chiming in on the wrong conversation, or that you haven’t overlooked any unfortunate connotations.

2. Ensure you’re not so eager to communicate with the world that you neglect communication within your business.  Many fails are the result of conflicting or poorly timed messages from different channels or departments.

3. Stay in touch with the news and trending topics, and resist the urge to ‘set and forget’ your tweets.  It allows you to take advantage of the topical and avoid major faux pas.

4. Be strict with your social log-ins and ensure that access is immediately cut off for those who should no longer have access privileges.

5. Understand that 140 characters is very difficult to nuance.  People will read between the words and interpret your message in their own way.  Interrogate what you write, consider all the angles, and always have someone else read it too.

6. Be genuine.  Never try to manipulate or heavily influence (unless of course you are a politician – if that’s the case, then as you were).

7. Read ALL the responses, comments, re-tweets. Carefully choose what to acknowledge and how to respond.

8. Take a big DEEP breath before responding to negativity.  You simply cannot win a fight with your customers.

We can also learn by example – and unfortunately there are plenty of these. Here are some of our team’s picks of the worst Twitter and hashtag fails out there.

#AskThicke
The most recent example of a Twitter fail occurred when already controversial pop star Robin Thicke decided it would be a good idea to invite people lambast him via Twitter, complete with a hashtag to follow the online community’s wrath towards him. Thicke’s PR company clearly didn’t learn any lessons from #AskBG (that lesson being, Twitter Q&As and controversial figures / businesses are not a good match).

#McDStories
Strategist Amaury Treguer chose an old classic – #McDStories. McDonald’s launched this hashtag back in 2012 to generate positive user generated sentiment and tweets about McDonalds. Unfortunately, #McDStories had the reverse effect and it ended up trending with negative stories surrounding obesity and hygiene.

Kelloggs’ ‘Give us a retweet or our children will go hungry’
Kelloggs committed a pretty big social media gaffe with its ‘give us a retweet or children will go hungry’ campaign back in November 2013.

As our strategist Luke Ryan comments:

Basically what this says to the consumer is: we are going to hold food hostage from the hungry kids that need it until you help promote our cause.”

If you are a company and want positive word of mouth around charitable actions (or social good) then just perform the task without asking for something in return. Consumers will respond to the authenticity of the act and your brand’s sentiment will be elevated as a by product.

Kelloggs, evidently, apologised for the tweet.

#Susanalbumparty
The unfortunate choice of hashtag #Susanalbumparty to promote the singer’s new album event spiraled into a plethora of mock invites to the party and complete humiliation.

Account Director Suz Koch thinks the picture below says it all.

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#LeTour: The social media story

by Arthur Feraud in News

We’re always treated to a vast selection of sporting events over the summer, and 2014 was no exception to the rule.

We’ve followed Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the World Cup and of course, the Tour de France. So, we decided to take a look at the social media highlights around this year’s race.

Le Tour’s social media strategy steps up a gear
The Tour de France went multi-platform on social media, using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine to report on 198 cyclists’ progress along the 3,664km route, making the race much more social than in previous years.

The Tour de France Facebook page was the main social platform used, relaying race updates and information to its 1.6m fan base.

The Facebook page highlighted the first hour of the tour on both sides of the road…

 
…and those recreating the tour behind the screens.

 
Videos on Facebook offered a different perspective from the televised content, and served as a thrilling back-stage tour of the race.

 
And over on Twitter…
The Tour de France also set up a ‘social corner’ which showcased the Twitter mentions about the race across the globe on a daily basis.

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The Tour’s Twitter account, @letour, allowed fans to follow each stage of the tour in real time, sometimes prompting for predictions at vital stages of the race:

Delving deeper with Instagram
TDF’s Instagram account visually offered rich and diverse content, and explored behind the scenes moments as well as the landscape beauty of the event. Content ranged from picturesque scenery that cyclists raced through…

..to behind the scenes moments..

..with some lovely hostesses.

Vine replay
In the World Cup, Vine was used to share gob-smacking goals, amazing footwork and the astounding atmosphere. Similarly, Tour de France allowed users to capture and share beautiful moments to their heart’s content.

Vine highlighted the falls, the sprints, and all the key moments of this year’s tour. One of the world’s most popular Vine videos watched poor Nibali bow down to give thanks to an LCL hostess, only to be faced shortly after with blank rejection. Something we’re sure Nibali will never quite forget…

Snapchatting backstage
Instant messaging app Snapchat also showcased live moments to followers of the Tour de France account:

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A balanced social strategy on ‘all-terrains’
The popularity and excitement surrounding the event resonated across multiple social platforms. The Tour de France managed to engage its online community in a visual and social way, allowing fans to experience the event via real time, of-the-moment content. Each network was used in a different way, and all tied together to perfectly compliment the speed, the variety and thrill that is at Tour de France.

These figures help show some of the social impact:

  • 313,395 Facebook fans accumulated in 3 weeks
  • Over 88K followers on Twitter were acquired in 3 weeks
  • 2,668,500 mentions on Twitter using hashtags #TDF and #TDF2014 *
  • 285,495 mentions on Twitter for the first stage of the tour *
  • 51,814 mentions on Twitter on stage 20 (the least spoken stage) *
  • 36,866 mentions on Twitter on Vincenzo Nibali’s notorious rejection *
  • 2,063 mentions on Twitter for the winning Trek Factory Racing team – the most tweeted team out of TDF*
  • 166,178 Instagram photos posted with hashtag #TDF & #TDF2014
  • 1,171 Vine videos produced in 3 weeks with hashtag #TDF & #TDF2014

* According to the Tour de France’s Twitter ‘social corner’

And just a little something to finish off on: here’s a pretty incredible video of a GoPro cruising alongside the pack…

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #222

by Nick Mulligan in News

Mobile social users engage more with brands
Mobile social users are more likely than their desktop-only equivalents to ‘like’ branded content, according to a survey of 37,000 US online adults. The study asked recipients if they liked something a company posted at least once per week; 49% of tablet users and 46% of those using smartphones said that they did, compared to 37% of desktop/PC-only users. Meanwhile, 64% of US online adults access social media through desktops/laptops, 45% on smartphones and 25% tablets.

Facebook releases Q2 results
Facebook released its Q2 results last week and they contained some impressive numbers. Monthly active users (MAUs) have grown to over 1.3 billion, up from 1.276 billion in Q1, while mobile MAUs now total 1.07 billion (vs. 1.008 billion last quarter).

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The real success, though, is financial. Total revenue has increased to $2.9bn, the company’s biggest quarterly total, up from $2.5bn in Q1.

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Ad revenue for the quarter amounted to $2.68bn, of which 62% came through mobile. Indeed 30% of the network’s MAUs access it solely through mobiles or tablets, leading to discussion about the potential for a mobile-only version of Facebook. Ad prices more than doubled last quarter, too, allowing Facebook to increase its revenue while reducing the number of total ads. These figures combined have led to a valuation of $192bn, more than Disney or Toyota, which is 128 times its profits for the whole of last year.

LinkedIn adds new ad capabilities
LinkedIn has launched ‘Direct Sponsored Content’, a new ad format that will allow advertisers to test, tailor and target content, much like they do on Facebook. The new system will compliment ‘Sponsored Stories’, the main difference being the ability to target different messages at specific audiences.

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LinkedIn buys Bizo
Some more big ad news from LinkedIn: the network has purchased business-to-business digital advertising company, Bizo, for $175m. Deep Nishar, LinkedIn SVP of product and user experience, said of the move:

Our ability to integrate [Bizo's] b-to-b solutions with our content marketing products will enable us to become the most effective platform for b-to-b marketers to engage professionals.

Foursquare sheds check-ins
Foursquare has launched the latest version of its main app, through which you can longer check in. To do so, users will now need to use ‘Swarm’ – the main Foursquare app is being reinvented as a discovery service, similar to the likes of Yelp.

‘The Giver’ produces Kik campaign
A new film for young adults, named ‘The Giver’, is launching a campaign on messaging app, Kik. The film’s promoters have created a card that contains a trailer, trivia and film-branded stickers, all of which can be shared with other users within the app.

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Applebee’s looks for Instagram ‘Fantographers’
Over the next year, US restaurant chain, Applebee’s, is to populate its Instagram feed with content from ‘Fantographers’. First, users opt in for a microsite, then anything shared using #Applebees or #Fantographer is eligible to be posted by the brand. Each image will have a border added, like so:

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adidas and Champs Sports launch #adicolorTV
adidas has joined up with Champs Sports to produce a set of four online shows hosted on Instagram. The campaign, dubbed #adicolorTV, is being run through the Champs Sports page.

Expedia wants throwback photos
Expedia is looking to tap into the ‘Throwback Thursday’ trend on Instagram and Twitter by asking users to tweet such photos @Expedia using #ThrowMeBack. Each week, one winner is selected to receive a voucher, so that they can revisit the site of their photo.

Prime TV to reveal everyone’s favourite child
A new season of Modern Family is set to premiere on New Zealand’s Prime TV, which has created a Facebook app for the occasion. The ‘Favourite Child Detector’ analyses your Facebook history and ranks you and your siblings based on interactions from your parents.

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Michelle Phan being sued over music licensing
Here’s a cautionary tale to any brands and content creators using other people’s music or images withour permission. YouTube star, Michelle Phan, is being sued by electronic dance music label, Ultra, for allegedly using its music without the proper permissions. Phan sells adverts against her channel, and also uses it to promote her makeup line.

Captain Morgan made to remove Facebook post by ASA
Diageo-owned rum brand, Captain Morgan, was forced to remove a Facebook post, after the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it implied alcohol helps conquer boredom. The text read “Wednesday. I’m declaring war on mid-week boredom”, so you can sort of see where they’re coming from.

David Mitchell writes a short story on Twitter
David Mitchell, author of ‘Cloud Atlas’, has released a short story piece-by-piece on Twitter. It’s taken 280 tweets – here’s how it starts:

Social, Digital & Mobile in the Middle East

by Simon Kemp in News

Continuing our series of reports on the social, digital and mobile landscapes of hundreds of countries around the world, today we’re very pleased to share a report on countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

As always, we begin with a quick update on the latest global figures:

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If you’re looking for in-depth numbers on specific countries beyond the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, you may want to check out these previous reports:

The Internet in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey
As in so many other areas of life, internet usage in the Middle East is a story of variety. There’s a huge disparity in terms of access, from almost complete penetration in Kuwait to barely 8% in Iraq:

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Interestingly, however, the role of mobile access is still very low in the Middle East, especially when compared to the numbers we saw in last week’s India report:

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Given the high rate of internet penetration in Kuwait, as well as that country’s relatively higher adoption rate of mobile internet, we believe that mobile devices will be the key driver of improved internet access throughout the region in coming months, and we’d expect overall numbers to increase significantly in the near future.

Social Media
Social media continues to grow in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, with many countries showing strong penetration figures:

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However, despite Facebook’s dominance in terms of user numbers around the region, it remains blocked in Iran.

Meanwhile, Facebook does not release user figures for Syria, although recent evidence suggests that it’s still a powerful platform within the country.

Mobile is a key component of social media usage in the region, with many countries seeing impressive figures for access on the go:

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Mobile
Despite the lower-than-expected numbers for mobile internet adoption, mobile usage in the region is strong and growing, with most countries exceeding the global average:

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However, 3G access remains elusive even in the most developed nations, and the vast majority of the region’s population continues to rely on lower-speed connections:

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Individual Country Details
You’ll find complete data for 20 of the region’s key economies in our full report:

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You can read the full report in the SlideShare embed above, or download it direct here.

In the meantime, here are the slides for Turkey to whet your appetite.

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Looking for stats for other countries? See our full range of free reports and social media guides here.

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WhatsApp overtakes Facebook Messenger

by Jason Mander in News

GlobalWebIndex’s latest figures show that WhatsApp has now passed Facebook Messenger to become the top mobile chat app globally. But as Quack! Messenger launches in the UK – promising its users a share of ad revenue – what factors are driving the boom in mobile messaging? And what fate lies ahead for the humble SMS? Jason Mander, Head of Trends at GlobalWebIndex, exclusively talks us through some of their key findings.

In 2014, we’ve seen an important transition in the mobile messaging space: WhatsApp is now being used by 39% of the mobile internet audience, pushing Facebook Messenger (38%) into second place.

Naturally, this global headline masks some notable local trends. WeChat is still the force majeure in China (being used by an impressive 84%), while Kakao Talk dominates in South Korea, Line is top dog in Taiwan and as many as 50% of teens in the UK and USA are wedded to Snapchat. Facebook’s Messenger tool has also received a significant boost from the network’s decision to remove the messaging functionality from its main app; in the UK, for example, the Messenger numbers jumped from 27% at the end of 2013 to 40% in Q2 2014.

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Across the board, though, one pattern remains consistent here: messaging services continue to enjoy buoyant rises. It’s against this context that Quack! Messenger enters the arena, promising UK users a chance to earn money in return for watching “wanted” advertising during conversation breaks (as it has already been doing in Spain and Italy under the name Chad2Win).

As the messaging space gets more crowded, it’s important to recognise that SMS/text messaging hasn’t been abandoned; overall, more people are still communicating via text than they are via IM services. However, the volume of messages being sent as via “traditional” SMS or MMS routes certainly is changing – with both formats now trending gently downwards after years of consistent growth.

To understand the reasons behind this, GlobalWebIndex surveyed 500 WhatsApp users in the UK. The results suggest that the once-dominant SMS has some pretty tough times ahead: just under two thirds of WhatsAppers say that chat apps are now one of their primary forms of communication, with over half saying that they almost always use them in preference to sending messages via SMS. The prospects for MMS are even more troubled: only 16% think that sending photos and videos via MMS is better than via a chat app.

Convenience and reach stand out as key drivers for this trend; two thirds say that mobile messaging services are the easiest way to send photos and videos, with a similar proportion claiming that they use them because most of their friends/family do too. Cost is also a big factor here: people like the idea that they are saving money, especially when sending messages internationally.

If we then turn our attention to attitudes among current SMS fans – that is, people who are currently using mobile messaging tools but who still prefer sending text messages – the future prospects for the messaging services look particularly bright. Those who still favour SMS are influenced the most by the ability to send messages without an internet connection (68%), the availability of unlimited SMS messages from their operator (68%) and the fact that not all of their friends are using mobile messaging apps.

But we have to imagine that all of these factors will be key targets for the mobile IM platforms: coverage will get progressively better, the offer of unlimited texts will get less relevant/impactful and the numbers of people using IM tools will increase. Perhaps most significantly of all, just 10% of people say they don’t trust mobile chat app companies with their conversations – which would arguably have been by far the biggest barrier against IM tools taking further ground from SMS.

So, as we approach the middle of the 10s decade, it seems inevitable that – while we won’t be saying a final RIP to the SMS or MMS – we’ll be hearing much less about them as a greater share of communication takes place via chat apps. In that context, WhatsApp’s price-tag becomes a bit easier to understand.

Note: GlobalWebIndex conducts quarterly research across 32 markets, representing nearly 90% of the global internet audience. Penetration figures for individual messaging services are a global average excluding China. Download a free summary of GWI’s new Mobile Messaging trend here.