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.

Apple iOS 8 feature HealthKit

by Paul Napier

Marketing Magazine recently published this article by me about Apple’s iOS 8 feature, HealthKit, and how brands could use it. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:

The new iOS 8 is now available for users to download. As an iOS developer I have had several months to play around and come to understand the new features that come with this version of the operating system. As always with the new release of iOS, there are a suite of changes, some major and some minor.

One of the most exciting additions to come out is HealthKit. So, what is it and how could it be used within your brand’s digital portfolio?

What is HealthKit?
HealthKit is the product of a two-year collaborative endeavour between Apple and Mayo Clinics, which services around 1.2 million patients every year. Their combined goal is to put iPhones and iPads at the centre of the self-health movement that has seen traction of the last few years.

At its core, HealthKit is a central hub/repository for gathering all the intelligence apps collect about a user’s fitness and health. Apps are able to upload their information about a user’s health and fitness activities into HealthKit, and in instances where users grant them permission, download this information and manipulate it to gather a better picture of the person currently signed into the app.

Users can see all their information at a glance, as it tracks their fitness activities such as running, walking and cycling from apps and associated wearable technology. Additionally, adapters such as glucometers, ECG devices, blood pressure monitors and even ultrasound have been created to give greater knowledge to users about their overall health, all of which can be stored in HealthKit and accessed by users through the simple interface.

In essence, HealthKit has removed the silo mentality that comes from having multiple apps for individual purposes, and encourages greater communication between health and fitness experts.

How can it help me?
At this stage, since the technology is in its infancy, it is difficult to predict where it could lead. The obvious beneficiaries of this technology, at least in the first instance, are companies such as Nike, adidas and other fitness specialists or wearable producers. However, beyond the obvious, this technology opens an exciting avenue that could allow more diverse industries to begin working on a more intimate level with their customers:

Medical: There could be long-term benefits to the medical industry, which will have a huge database of reliable, or at least semi-reliable, information about people’s fitness and health. This information can be used to begin reviewing trends in health statistics against medical complications.

Healthcare: State medical facilities can build apps that can hook into a patient’s profile and read their medical data alongside health and fitness activities, giving the doctors and immediate understanding of the patients well-being prior to any medical appointment. Taking this even further, the patients activities could be tracked and the patient sent a notification when certain thresholds are reached, meaning that doctors can start to focus more on prevention rather than the cure.

Financial services: Insurance companies could look at the health and fitness of their customers to provide accurate quotes, or provide incentives to those who follow a healthy regime.

FMCG: Food and beverage companies could build apps that tracked users consumption and offered better nutritional options on food and beverages could be tracked against the user’s health needs, allergy requirements, blood sugar levels, fitness activities or goals.

Travel: Airlines could be made aware of any medical needs for passengers, or be alerted to dietary requirements, while encouraging their passengers with medical conditions to continue tracking throughout the journey to ensure the crew are alerted in the event of any pressing concern. Travel companies could track for potential changes in stress to enable bespoke packages to engage health focused customers.

Retail: Clothing and apparel companies could track clothing sizes using measurements given by the users then look at targeting them with the newest ranges in sizes that match the user’s statistics or intended goals.

This information on its own is but one facet of a potential medical breakthroughs in both the literal and mobile sense. We are seeing a swell in the information being gathered around individuals: location, behavioural, social, economic, psychological, physiological, etc. I recently wrote an article outlining the benefits of looking at implementing a social strategy within your mobile application, and with the advent of this new technology, never has there been a greater time to review this strategy.

The power of integrating social alongside this medical and fitness information could seem overwhelming, and it is most certainly not for every company. However, for those companies that have a legitimate reason to access this information, the potential options for improving user experience and engagement are greater than ever before.

On a final note, any idea should have a benefit for both sides, and provide information about the user back into HealthKit before drawing information in return. This way, HealthKit can provide ongoing advancements and the information you receive can become a more detailed and richer experience for both you and the user.

Listen, Learn, Earn: Social Listening How-To

by Simon Kemp in News

The massive proliferation of social media in recent years has changed marketers’ ability to understand their audiences.

Even with basic tools, it’s now possible to develop insights into people’s thoughts, motivations and behaviours in ways that were prohibitively difficult or expensive even 10 years ago.

Today’s post explains how you can start taking advantage of these incredible opportunities, and includes a guide to some of the best free tools, and tips on how to get the most out of them.

What Is Social Listening?
It might help to start with a definition:

Social listening is the art and science of developing meaningful brand insights through the identification and analysis of relevant conversations in social media.

Listening is a powerful addition to a brand’s strategic toolkit, providing insights that can add value throughout the organisation.

However, many marketers miss much of this potential value due to an egocentric approach to social media monitoring.

We need to get better at using social media to understand people, not just to monitor brand mentions or campaign metrics.

Listening to Learn
As Earl Nightingale astutely observed,

You can’t learn anything with your mouth open.

However, many marketers see their role as the ‘talker’, sharing the brand’s message with the rest of the world.

Sadly, this means they’re missing invaluable opportunities to learn.

We stand to gain much greater value – for ourselves as marketers, as well as for our colleagues across the rest of our organisations – if we also adopt the role of listeners, acting as the interface that enables outside feedback to permeate the business.

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Social media can add value throughout the organisation

It’s Not About You
When it comes to social media monitoring, it’s also important to distinguish between ‘selective hearing’ and active listening.

Most marketers use monitoring to assess the performance of their marketing, setting up tools to track mentions of their brand and product names.

This kind of listening is useful, of course, but it takes a very selfish view of the world; it’s akin to walking into a party and only joining conversations that are already about you.

More importantly, when it comes to product-related updates, barely 1 in 10 mentions a specific brand.

In other words, if we’re only tracking brand names, we’re missing 90% of the potential value; we need to listen out for a broader range of conversations that will help us to gain richer insights into purchase moments, usage occasions, and subsequent emotions.

Big Data vs. Small Details
Conversations about brands and products are only a small subset of total social media activity.

Every day, people share billions of public posts across social media, and every one of these updates – no matter how innocuous – can offer valuable insights into people’s attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, and habits.

Even the much-maligned ‘photos of my lunch’ can reveal a wealth of new understanding: where people like to eat; the time of day they dine; who they lunch with; the kinds of food they like; how much they’re willing to spend…

What we learn depends on how carefully we choose to listen.

The Discovery Engine
Once you adopt this more organic approach to listening, you’ll quickly discover that most people’s conversations aren’t about the areas your marketing focuses on.

Furthermore, you’ll start to realise that the things that matter to your audience aren’t always the things you expect.

Because of this, social media offer unique opportunities to identify new products and services, as well as more efficient and effective ways to communicate with people.

If you think of search engines as a tool that helps us to answer the questions we already have, social media do something new, allowing us to identify the questions we didn’t even know we needed to answer.

Used correctly, social media listening is a ‘discovery engine’ that can help us redefine the way that we do business; as John Willshire puts it, social insights will allow us to “make things that people really want, instead of trying to make them want things you’ve already made.”

Getting Started
In order to get the most our of social listening, you need to build your activities around your brand’s objectives.

Start by asking some simple, strategic questions:

  1. In order to hit your targets, what do you need people to do differently compared to what they do today?
  2. Who do you most need to persuade in order to bring about this change in behaviour (remember that this may not be the buyer or end user of your brand)?
  3. Why aren’t people already doing what you want them to do? What do they think or believe today that we need to change? What are the barriers that stand between today and success?

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It’s likely that you won’t know all the real barriers to success yet, which is where social media listening comes in.

Based on your objectives, spend some time crafting search queries that will help you to understand potential barriers in the context of people’s broader lives and behaviour.

Go beyond searching for brand names, to exploring the benefits you provide, and the problems or opportunities they address.

For example, if you’re Colgate, don’t just search for your own name, ‘Oral B’, or even ‘toothpaste’; instead, search for ‘toothache’, ‘bad breath’ or even ‘dentist’.

It’s easy to try this out for yourself – these free tools are a great place to start:

Finding Mentions vs Uncovering Value
Be sure to spend time actively reading and analysing what you find though; automated sentiment analysis and volume trends are interesting, but the real value lies in the specifics of what people say; where and when they say it, who they’re discussing the topic with, and what their potential motives for discussing it might be.

Read the conversations as a person who’s trying to empathise with a friend, not as a marketer who’s trying to sell stuff.

Even the most basic query should bring up some valuable insights if you ask yourself these questions about the conversations you find:

  1. Who is talking (i.e. who posted the update)?
  2. What are they (really) saying?
  3. Where are they saying it? [social platforms, as well as physical locations]
  4. When are they saying it? [time of day, as well as context, e.g. at the POS]
  5. Why are they saying it (what are their motivations)?
  6. Which elements have engaged other people (e.g. ‘likes’, comments, shares, etc.)?
  7. How might these conversations impact my brand (for better or worse)?

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This post originally appeared in my column on The Marketing Society Blog.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #229

by Hannah Jones in News

We are spending more time using mobile apps than ever
Our time spent using mobile apps has risen by 21 percent compared to last year, with music, fitness and social media apps amongst the highest climbers.

apps-time

Despite coming third to music and fitness categories regarding the time spent in apps, when it comes to app launches (i.e. opening up the app itself) social networking is leading the field with an average of 25.1 app launches per month. Our time in apps has already overtaken desktop web and this number is only going to continue to grow, according to Localytics, who carried out the research.

apps-engagement2

Small and medium businesses are the biggest spenders on social media
Research firm BIA/Kelsey has revealed that 74.5 percent of SMBs use social media to advertise or promote their businesses, rising from 71.7 percent last year. At the same time, SMBs are spending less on print and outdoor advertising. Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey, explains that “print and outdoor together have switched positions with social in terms of reach and share of spend”, describing social as convenient, user-friendly and inexpensive with low participation barriers. The most profitable best channels cited by SMBs are online banner ads containing video, streaming audio advertising and offers distributed on smartphones or tablets.

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Asia-Pacific holds nearly 30% of global social network spending
Even though North America continues to retain its breadwinner status in terms of media dollars spent on social sites this year, nearly a third of worldwide paid social media spending will come from the Asia-Pacific region, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. It’s expected for this region’s share to rise by almost 2 percentage points over the next two years, while it’s anticipated for North America’s share to fall.

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Facebook captures 10% of US digital ad spend 
Adults in the US will spend an average of 6 percent of their total digital media time on Facebook (roughly 21 minutes every day) and the platform captures 10 percent of all U.S. digital ad spending, according to a new study from eMarketer. Facebook in the UK is not far behind the US, representing 7.5 percent of all digital ad spend this year with another 3% going to other social networks, with the expectation it continue to grow at a strong rate.

Facebook prioritises breaking news 
Facebook has announced changes to its News Feed algorithm that aim to put a greater focus on topical news and timely posts. The update looks at two new factors; one being trending topics, with Facebook giving more priority to breaking news, the other is how people are liking and commenting on posts determine if it’s relevant to a specific user. Facebook hopes the update will help to deliver everyone the right content at the right time, so users only read “what’s important to them”. For users, this might mean fewer BuzzFeed quizzes and ice-bucket challenges, and more breaking news.

Facebook’s private sharing app “Moments”
Facebook is trialling a new app codenamed “Moments”, a private sharing app designed to make selective sharing to different sets of people much faster than the main Facebook app, which focuses primarily on content rather than audience. Though Facebook is yet to officially comment, the app has already been likened to the mobile app ”Cluster”, which lets people create safe “spaces” for sharing content with small groups.

Facebook relaunches ad network Atlas 
Facebook has revamped the ad network it acquired, Atlas, with an updated system that enables it to better serve and measure ads across devices and beyond Facebook. Advertisers can target ads to any device leading up to a purchase, and use Facebook data to measure the success of a campaign. The update could be big news for brands looking to organise their digital ad spend, and seeks to extend Facebook’s display advertising dominance beyond its own service. The full details are due to be revealed during Advertising Week, beginning Sept. 29.

Instagram ads are set to roll out in UK soon
As promised back in June, Instagram is preparing to show sponsored posts to UK users soon. With ads being announced last year, and having already rolled out in the US, the Facebook-owned photo sharing site claims the sponsored posts will aim to be “natural”. The ads look just like regular updates, but are instead marked out with a “Sponsored” label in the top right-hand corner. If a user doesn’t like the posts appearing on their feed, they can select to hide any updates from that particular brand.

insta

Twitter expands audience targeting tools
Twitter first introduced tailored audiences last year to give advertisers the ability to target audiences and tailor ads. Expanding on its audience targeting efforts, the platform has updated its self-service advertising dashboard to give advertisers more tools to manage targeted campaigns. They can do so by creating new audience lists and managing existing audiences, all through this new audience manager tool.

YouTube Analytics now with real-time tracking
YouTube has added new real-time reporting to its analytics dashboard that provides view counts down to the minute for your videos. The new dashboard looks at your last five published videos, how many users have accessed them, how the user figures have developed in the past 48 hours. The interface has two graphs: hour-by-hour data for the last 48 hours and minute-by-minute figures for the past hour. This is a particularly exciting update; providing a new way to look at content and keep track of what time is preferable to publish new videos.

Joan Rivers posts about iPhone 6-feet-under
After several warnings to PR companies, sponsored scheduled posts appeared on Joan Rivers’ Facebook and Instagram accounts two weeks following her death. One of these included an ad on the late comedian’s Instagram account promoting the Apple iPhone 6, before it was quickly taken down. However, with 1.3 millions fans, this didn’t stop people immediately having fun with the story on social media.

joan

Scotland votes: Is it a Yes on social media?

by Paul Greenwood in News

flag scot

Today, people all over Scotland have been travelling to their nearest polling station to decide whether they will remain part of the United Kingdom. We’ve seen debates between the Yes and No Campaigns ignite passion amongst people in the UK and beyond, and of course, as with every significant event in today’s society, people have spent the last months, weeks and days airing their views on social media.

Both Yes and No camps have taken their campaigns to social channels, particularly with the aim of targeting the younger demographic included in the vote.  The Yes campaign has been the most effective, generating 720,800 mentions on Twitter from the UK for #VoteYes in the last month, compared to just 145,400 for the No campaign’s official hashtag, #bettertogether, with even fewer for #nothanks.  Facebook also reported that the Yes campaign has had more interactions on the platform.

For the four weeks we monitored, conversation around the Yes campaign made up to 29% of the referendum conversation, compared to around 8% for the No campaign. And the Yes campaign was gaining even more ground in the final campaign stages, increasing by 7 percentage points from the first week from this week. Twitter is not a particularly reliable source when it comes to forecasting, but the No campaign will undoubtedly feel as though they could have done more.

We Are Social’s Chris Applegate spoke to Ad Age on the Yes/No rivalry, stating:

“The ‘Yes’ campaign has an easier task. In social there are more opportunities to challenge the status quo than to maintain it. But the ‘No’ campaign suffers from a lack of imagination. While the vote is a serious issue, to cut through on social platforms you need to create naturally shareable content, rather than just broadcasting soundbites.”

People on social media were also more likely to indicate a preference for a Yes vote. When looking at those who stated if they were For or Against; the Yes campaign has consistently outstripped the No campaign, accounting for 75-79% of those people declaring an intention to vote compared to 21-25% of those who said No.

In the last month, and found that there have been over 2.4 million mentions of #indyref generated from within the UK alone. In the first three weeks we analysed, conversation was dominated by big announcements for both sides of the campaign; the debates between Salmond and Darling, the launch of the No Campaign advert and the Yes campaign’s response: #PatronisingBTLady, YouGov giving the lead to the Yes campaign for the first time and the announcement of the Royal Baby and if it would affect the outcome.

During this time, conversations on social media were heated, but generally respectful.However, we’ve seen a shift in conversation tone over the last few days as the crucial day approached. There has been a rise in tweets that relate to warnings, threats, intimidation, bullying, paranoia as tensions rise.

There is an undercurrent that once the referendum is finished, whichever way the vote goes, there will be lasting divisions in Scotland. This tweet from JK Rowling sums it up:

Tomorrow, we’ll know whether Scotland will remain part of the UK or if it’ll be going its separate way. But if it’s the latter, don’t worry Mr Stenhouse, you’ll still be able to watch Match of the Day.

Twitter: A How-To Guide For Brands

by Jolene Siow in News

With myriad social media platforms available to brands, how should marketers choose which ones to be a part of?

More importantly, how do you differentiate what you share on the different platforms?

Today’s post shares 10 essential, practical tips that you can use to get the most out of Twitter, and explains the dos and don’ts of Twitter best practice for brands.

Twitter For Brands
With 271 million global monthly active users, and 500 million tweets sent everyday, Twitter has the potential to elevate your brand and bridge the gap between you and your consumers:

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However, Twitter is a unique platform that focuses on conversation. It offers marketers a tool that they can use to engage people in direct, valuable, real-time conversations. It can be a compelling means to bringing your brand closer to people — if used wisely.

What is Twitter Success?
How would you define being successful on Twitter?

We feel that this success isn’t quantified by having a large following, but rather, the quality and level of engagement your brand has with your audience.

Just like in a real world context, the depth of your relationship matters more than the number of friends or acquaintances you have.

How To Use Twitter: 10 Dos & A Don’t
Our comprehensive new ‘How To’ guide to Twitter – embedded above as a complete SlideShare, but also available for free download here – offers a one-stop reference for making the best use of Twitter for brands.

The guide centres on We Are Social’s 10 Twitter Dos & A Don’t that bring you closer to the goal of creating genuine engagement and lasting relationships with your audiences.

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1: Know What You Want To Achieve
Instead of getting your brand on Twitter just because it seems like everyone else is on there, it’s best to determine why you feel your brand should use Twitter.

Do you want to use it to sell more products, to provide customer service by responding to queries and complaints, to foster relationships with your consumers, or to build your brand?

Defining and knowing your purpose is step one in planning your strategy.

Having that strategy in place enables you to make better and consistent decisions for future content, presenting a more cohesive brand to your audience.

It also prevents your Twitter account from becoming a dumping ground for random content pieces that only serve to confuse your audience.

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2: Get Your Basics Down Pat
Nothing screams noob like being an egg on Twitter. Complete your profile with an appropriate profile picture and cover photo.

It’s also important to have a snappy bio filled out; while these things may all seem small, they have a large impact on potential followers.

They also help people figure out who you are, what your brand stands for, and offer a peek into your brand personality – all at a glance.

Similarly, understanding how Twitter works is essential to knowing how to plan for content on it, and what better way to learn than to spend time on the platform?

Twitter has its own ecosystem of words and actions – learn the vocabulary and grammar that is commonly used on it.

When you are familiar with the inner workings of the platform, the content that you strategise for it then becomes more powerful and more likely to achieve your aims.

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3: Actively Listen To Your Audiences
A common mistake brands make is to speak without listening to their audiences.

With more brands making their presence felt on social media, actively listening to your audience puts you in a better position to speak to them in a way that makes them care and want to engage with you.

When you listen, it shouldn’t be merely about what people are saying about your brand though; listen to what they care about, because when you truly understand them, you can then better fulfil their needs, wants, and desires.

Listening is a powerful tool in its own right as well ­­– it will enable you to make more informed decisions when planning your broader brand strategy, and give you insight into your overall role in your audience’s life.

With data gathered from listening tools, keep in mind that relationships are built with people, not numbers on a spreadsheet. Focus on the human side of things, and aim for deeper bonds between your brand and the people you care about consumers.

Encourage loyalty and build brand love, instead of focusing on follows and retweets alone.

Read the Full Report
You’ll find the remaining 7 Dos and the critical Don’ts in the full report – continue reading it here.

Or, if you’d prefer to download a copy for yourself or your colleagues, simply click here.