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.

The Power of Parody

by Lee Cassanell in News

Marketing recently published this article by me about parody accounts on Twitter. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:

God is on Twitter and he has 1.5 million followers. Not that many, considering his pedigree, but with a book deal in the bag and an average of four thousand retweets a day, his social media power is nothing less than biblical.

It’s fairly well known that God is the creation of American comedy writer David Javerbaum but there are other, more mysterious figures on Twitter playing the parody game and their reach and influence is growing by the day.

I’ve always been a fan of satire. I wrote a popular satirical newsletter during my college years and I had my own column in a free magazine up north that achieved a certain degree of notoriety and became a big draw for local advertisers wanting to showcase their wares to an alternative audience. But I wanted to take it a step further. I got talking to another writer who wrote for the same film blog as me. We tossed around ideas and before the week was out, we’d created The Studio Exec, a fake Hollywood producer who makes fun of an industry ripe for parody.

Since then our tweets and articles have been picked up by most International newspapers and magazines. We fooled Le Monde and Le Figaro into believing Hollywood was going to make a movie based on the song Gangham Style. We cajoled the director William Friedkin into denying that he wanted to use the Pink Panther theme instead of Tubular Bells on the soundtrack for The Exorcist and Spike Lee threatened to sue us when he temporarily forgot that he had a sense of humour.

The Studio Exec does okay but there are a legion of other parody accounts out there with huge and influential audiences. The Queen has around 1.2 million followers and has published a popular book, Shortlist’s Online editor Benjamin Lee created the popular Michael Haneke parody account and has moved on to Middle Class Problem, and the Fleet Street Fox is busy mocking the newspaper industry on a daily basis.

The majority of these parody accounts are run by highly skilled writers and social media professionals and many choose to remain anonymous because it gives them the flexibility and freedom they lack during their day jobs. From a marketing perspective, anonymity and anarchy are a scary combination. But as brands become increasingly comfortable using social media, working with a parody account should not be as intimidating a prospect as it has been in the past.

Approach a parody account in the same way you would approach a blogger relations campaign. Is your product relevant to the parody? Could you genuinely see the fictional character using, eating or drinking your product or service? Some of the best approaches we’ve had at Studio Exec, for example, have been from manufacturers of tequila and cigars – products that fit perfectly into our character’s lifestyle. Why deal with these delinquents when you can work with a legitimate blogger or celebrity? Put simply, their illegitimacy makes them attractive to both the mainstream and the counter-culture.

Brands also can take inspiration from parody accounts and create their own. Heinz ran a campaign last year with a tweeting Salad Cream bottle, commenting on lunch options. One of the biggest recent successes of a product parody is adidas’s tweeting match ball, Brazuca, which hit just the right informed, but irreverent, tone-of-voice and became the fastest growing Twitter account during the 2014 World Cup.

The success of parody accounts should also tell brands something about their approach to Twitter – don’t take yourself too seriously. Brands like Tesco Mobile and Greggs have both been applauded recently for taking a self-deprecating approach to social or resolving a potential PR crisis with a smile on their face.

Everyone loves a rebel; especially a rebel that makes them laugh and these entertainers are conjuring up exceptional comedy on a daily basis. Funny sells, ladies and gentlemen, and if you’re willing to take an educated risk and get involved with some of these characters; the parody game could be well worth playing.

Life on the #IamSocial Graduate Scheme

by Rhoda Sell in News

When a company’s job application asks for an Instagram video, a tweet and your LinkedIn profile … it’s clear they aren’t messing about when they say they are social. That was how our life on the #IamSocial Graduate Scheme began. With the application process now a mere distant memory, Alex and I are coming into our fourth week in the business … and, boy, have we been busy!

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Alex and I on “awkward accidental matching t-shirt” day

So, what is the #IAmSocial Graduate Scheme?
It’s an opportunity to learn all there is to know about agency life, and more importantly, We Are Social life. We spend three months rotating through all seven departments in the business, before starting our permanent roles as Account Executives in Client Services. So far, it certainly doesn’t feel like any ordinary graduate scheme; with first day cupcake deliveries, company quiz nights and charity runs, there has always been something going on … they’re even taking us skiing!

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After a first week full of inductions, introductions, handshakes and excessive snacking, we began our rotations. Alex started life with the adidas team and I joined the creatives. Over the next few months, we will take it in turns to blog about what we have been up to during our graduate scheme journey, so stay tuned folks!

So, what do creatives do?
This is where the big ideas happen! When a client comes to the business with a problem or goal, the account and strategy teams work hard to define the objectives based on the target audience and develop clear insights from which ideas can stem. It is then presented to the team in the form of a creative brief, and this is where the process of creating a campaign begins, from that first spark of an idea right through to a cross-channel social activation.

I’ve had the opportunity to witness (and try to help out!) at every stage of the process. To help visualise the ideas and present it to the client, we drew scamps – visual mock-ups that show how the idea works in different media channels – for example Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, digital billboards and so on. These scamps became part of a ‘deck’ (that’s a presentation to you non-agency folk!). All in all, its been a busy two weeks of learning, ideas generating and foosball matches!

During the graduate scheme, we are also getting the opportunity to visit some of the social media giants, including Facebook, Twitter and Google. So far we’ve been to the Twitter offices to learn how to optimise campaigns on the platform, use analytics tools and most importantly, bag some freebies!

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That’s it for my time in creative, I’m on to coding with the Dev team and promoting Tweets with the paid media team; wish me luck! Next, you’ll be hearing from my Serbian partner in crime, Alex. Here are some of our parting thoughts…

The five things we’ve learnt so far

  • On average, there are 6,000 Tweets sent every second which adds up to almost 500 million tweets a day! We love this awesome tweet-visualisation tool that shows what the population of Britain are mostly tweeting about at different times of day … predominantly commuting and alcohol
  • You can create a surprising amount of content in-house with just a camera, some helping hands, a bit of creativity…. and 500 boxes of tissues!
  • The importance of timesheets – this one is drilled in daily. But without them it would be impossible to keep track of client budgets, something that will be of a lot more importance to us when we start our permanent roles.
  • It is also almost impossible to avoid gaining the We Are Social new starter 10lbs with a birthday almost every day, pizza meetings, beer o’clock Fridays and free breakfast … all we can do is thank god for running club!
  • And finally, try not to panic when getting into first week tricky situations…

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The Greatest Ever #SMWPubQuiz

by Sophie Fitzgerald in News

As we say goodbye to another successful Social Media Week London, we’ve been reflecting on the success of our third “Greatest Social Media Pub Quiz in the World”.

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Guests arriving at the event got their adrenaline pumping before their feet even touched the floor of Ticketmaster’s Imperial bar. Stairs are simply not an option when there is a slide that childhood dreams are made of in front of you – up until the 8pm slide curfew. Apparently after that, accidents happen.

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As our expert Quizmaster Laura Muldoon guided us through the taxing questions, we learnt a lot of useful information about 2014’s viral campaigns, hip hop Grandmas, Danny Dyer’s inspirational tweets and Boris Johnson’s thoughts on lycra. We also found out Simon Cowell and Astronaut Sloth are actually separate people, even if the Face Fusion app works a little too well for them.

Fuelled by Heineken and Papa John’s pizza, the social brains and creative juices were flowing. When we asked our teams to design their prediction of the next wearable tech, the clapometer’s overwhelming favourite was the ‘iTassel’, bluetooth enabled nipple tassels which integrate with Tinder and Grindr using GPS to point the wearer to nearby singles (batteries not included). The winning team have patented the idea and are currently in talks with Ann Summers.

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So, do you think you’ve got what it takes to slide your way down to victory and become the winners of the next Social Media Pub Quiz? If so, keep checking our blog for news of our next one!

20% of internet users use Instagram

by Deniz Ugur in News

It may have just rolled out ads in the UK, but how is Instagram performing globally? GlobalWebIndex analysed the behaviours and demographics of its audience.

The study shows one fifth of adult internet users have an Instagram account worldwide, a figure that has consistently risen since mid 2013. Examining the figures by region, penetration is highest in Latin America and the Middle East, where a third of internet users use Instagram.

The report also shows the Instagram audience to be an attractive one for advertisers; users are 25% more likely than average to be in the top income quartile.

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We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #230

by Nick Mulligan in News

Facebook fans spend more than other customers
A four-year study of a ‘major grocery store’s Facebook page’ has found that Facebook fans purchase 35% more items than the average consumer. Those who engaged 10 times or more spent $1,000 more in each year. Sounds super – though always worth remembering correlation vs. causation.

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Facebook rolls out Atlas
Facebook is launching its new ad platform, Atlas, which will allow marketers to target ads to Facebook users across other sites and mobile apps. It’s such a big move that it must feel like it’s got the weight of the world on its shoulders. Rubbish mythology gags, anybody? Well, it’s a titanic move. Herculean proportions. The sky’s the limit.

Twitter wants to target ads at film lovers
Twitter is beta-testing targeting ads for people who talk about films. In the future, it may be possible to target an ad to anyone who has mentioned an upcoming movie release, whether that be the title or a related keyword (character names, locations etc.) Good job it wasn’t around for Fight Club, eh?

Twitter trials interactive poll card
Twitter is testing a new card that will allow users to run polls natively on the site. Here’s how it looks on the platform (the polls don’t show up when embedded).

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We all know the answer to that one, don’t we? GO EUROPE!

Starbucks sponsors Tumblr’s dot
Starbucks has sponsored the dot at the end of the Tumblr sign. The piece of punctuation has been previously been used to link users to specific content on certain days (Valentine’s Day, Pi Day) and is now being used for advertising on ‘National Coffee Day’. This could be a real opportunity for brands with a logo that looks something like a full stop.

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Pinterest looks to up its ad game
Like Pinterest? Like advertising? This story might just be for you. Pinterest is testing a way for advertisers to target people in a database (such as an email list) on the site, with measurement tools to boot. Exciting, right? We told you so!

Compile your Amazon wish list on Twitter
Twitter users can now add an item to their Amazon wish list by tweeting. Link your two accounts, reply to any tweet containing an Amazon link, include #AmazonWishList and hey presto! The item’s now on your list.

BMW’s first ever Vines
BMW has created its first ever Vine campaign. It’s all cool and automotive-y, as you might expect. Nice work.

Triumph launches #nigglefix
Triumph, the lingerie company, has created a social campaign called #nigglefix, based on the old adage that ‘a niggle shared is a niggle halved’. The video below reveals all (not in that way).

Transport for London uses selfies for safety
Transport for London’s latest safety campaign uses a series of selfies to highlight the danger of illegal minicabs. The organisation is also encouraging people to post a #homesafeselfie online when they arrive and, ideally, not to take illegal minicabs at all.

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The UK gets ads on Instagram
Instagram ads have hit the UK, thanks in part to the likes of Waitrose, Starbucks and Cadbury. BrandRepublic has compiled its favourites, including the below.

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Anti-IS #Notinmyname hashtag
The hashtag #Notinmyname is being used worldwide by Muslims who wish to show that the actions of IS are not in accordance with their religious views. The campaign has gained impressive traction, even being mentioned by Barack Obama.

Brands vs. brands on #bendgate
The iPhone6 bends in your pocket! Everybody! The iPhone6! It bends! In your pocket! Brands wanted to be funny about it. Some of them were, some of them weren’t. Win of the week went to KitKat, who outperformed Oreo’s famous Superbowl moment.