Here are all of the posts tagged ‘social media’.
Social Brands Part 4: On The Go Is The Way To Go
It’s official: mobile is literally everywhere. Google tells us that more people around the world now own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush, while the UN just revealed that more people have access to mobile phones than toilets.
Here’s how things break down by geography:
However, despite the cellphone’s ubiquity, a recent WARC study revealed that barely 39% of brand advertisers in APAC consider mobile to be ‘very important’ to their current marketing plans, and a scant 29% actually have a mobile strategy.
So why aren’t marketers’ plans in tune with their audience’s existing behaviour?
In other words, it’s highly likely that, around the world, more people now use mobile phones than watch TV:
That’s a huge shift. Moreover, global cellphone adoption is still growing at a rate of 140 million new subscriptions per quarter.
Of course, many people around the world still rely on more basic ‘feature’ phones, but these devices still provide a level of intimacy that TV can’t match.
What’s more, the shift to internet-connected smartphone devices continues to accelerate with each month that passes, with global mobile data usage currently increasing at close to 30% per quarter:
Out of Sync
Perhaps more tellingly, people are more emotionally connected to their phones too: as we highlighted in our recent report on the country, 70% of people in China – the world’s largest consumer market – said that they “can’t live without” their cellphones.
People used to say the same of TV, but ironically, many people now use their mobile internet connections to download ‘TV’ content to watch on their mobile phones (sans adverts).
TV clearly still has a vital role to play in the marketing mix of course, and this isn’t about replacing one medium with another. Indeed, mobile has a big part to play in the continuing evolution of TV by enabling and driving phenomena like second screening and transmedia storytelling.
But in a world where brands can reach more of their consumers, more of the time, in more contextually relevant and intimate ways through mobile than through TV, marketers must spend more time – and more of their budgets – exploring how mobile can help them engage audiences and reach their objectives.
If Your Marketing Isn’t Mobile, It Isn’t Going Anywhere
Mobile offers a very different kind of audience experience to TV.
The latter is still largely a communal device; a centre piece that takes pride of place in the heart of our living rooms.
However, mobile is more personal; its primary purpose has always been to connect us with other people, rather than simply delivering passive entertainment.
Critically, people have more control over what they do on their phones.
They decide which activities they participate in, what content they consume, and where and when they do so:
Because of their size and increasing flexibility, mobiles have also become many people’s most important devices.
To put things in perspective, a recent survey found that 1 in 3 American smartphone owners would even give up sex before giving up their phones.
And with more and more of our activities shifting to mobile devices, this intimacy for mobile seems set to continue.
But, perhaps because of this heightened sense of device intimacy, people don’t welcome interruptions on their phones.
As with so many of today’s big marketing opportunities, interruptive, broadcast approaches simply aren’t the best use of the medium.
Social by Design
Critically, mobile phones started life as truly ‘social media’ – they were always intended to be a means of connecting people.
However, as they’ve evolved from voice-and-text handsets into today’s multi-purpose connected devices, the scope of the social interaction they offer has increased dramatically, to the extent that telephony has dropped way down the list of activities people use their ‘phones’ for.
Meanwhile, the importance of social networking on mobile devices continues to grow.
Smartphone users check Facebook an average of 14 times every day, and American smartphone users spent 40.8 billion minutes on social media mobile apps in July 2012. On an annualised basis, that’s close to 1 million years of human time spent on mobile social activities in the US alone.
Meanwhile, another recent survey from J. D. Power found that, across all age groups, American smartphone users spend an average of almost 2 hours per week using social media apps.
comScore now reckons that 55% of all social media activity in the US takes place on a mobile device.
These trends aren’t unique to the US though, and based on our recent round of SDMW research, mobile’s share of social activities around Asia is likely to be even higher.
More importantly, with the increasing role of mobile instant messaging apps (MIMAs) like WeChat, Line, and Kakaotalk, mobile social’s share of our attention is only set to increase.
Mobile doesn’t just offer new opportunities to drive attention and engagement though; it is increasingly becoming a key channel for conversions too:
Here again, the role of mobile social comes to the fore, with around half of Facebook’s users checking the site while in stores.
As a result, within the next few years, marketing strategies that don’t come to life on mobile devices will never come to life at all.
That shift requires a significant re-evaluation of the way we approach communicating with audiences too.
We won’t be able to rely on interruption anymore, and as we saw in the previous post in this series, marketers will need to get much savvier at adding value instead of finding more efficient ways of distracting people.
Consequently, it’s imperative that marketers explore mobile-social synergies, and build contextual engagement into the core of their engagement strategies.
So how do marketers make better use of mobile apps?
First up, the answer doesn’t have to be about building native apps.
Indeed, even when native apps are available, people don’t always use them; as Mark Zuckerberg revealed recently, “there are actually more people in the world using Facebook on mobile Web” than using the iOS and Android native apps combined.
The real trick is understanding why people use mobile devices – what are the specific wants, needs and desires driving their behaviour?
The best mobile marketing embodies a few simple principles:
- Deliver something of value, whether it’s utility, entertainment, or social interaction;
- Take advantage of context, using mobile devices’ portability to offer different experiences depending on where and when people engage;
- Keep things streamlined, with content that’s easily accessible and suitable across a range of different devices and connection speeds;
- Build in device portability, allowing people to continue their experience across phones, tablets and computers if they choose to, especially when sharing things with other people;
- Harness layers of detail, allowing people to enjoy a rewarding experience whether they’ve got just 30 seconds on their work break, or 30 minutes on the bus home.
Stay In Touch
Lastly, don’t forget that mobile is still primarily a social channel – a reality that presents a huge opportunity.
Social media experiences will increasingly come to life on the go, and here at We Are Social, we’re already planning on the basis that mobile and social should be seamlessly integrated to provide the best possible social experiences, wherever and whenever the audience wants to engage.
We’re pleased to share the latest of our SDMW snapshots for social media use around Asia.
Today’s snapshot offers a more comparable definition of ‘users’, and is based solely on active users*, rather than the overall user numbers we used for some countries in previous reports where active user data was not available.
Social Media Users
Despite this recalibration, the total number of social media users across the top network in each of our 24 SDMW Asia nations has increased to 874 million, reflecting 18% growth compared to our last full report in October.
This represents growth of more than 10 million new users of social media every month – a figure that’s all the more impressive considering Facebook’s recent clean up of ‘fake’ accounts.
However, social media penetration has fluctuated around the region in the past few months, with a number of ‘mature’ markets – including Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong – registering a drop in penetration as the frequency of Facebook usage begins to slow.
Overall though, regional penetration remained static at 23%, in line with the overall global average:
More importantly, the drop in penetration across mature markets has been balanced by on-going growth in markets like India and Indonesia, both of which continue to see social media usage expand at impressive rates.
However, the most interesting story comes from North Asia, where we’re seeing accelerating mass adoption of mobile chat applications.
Neither Japan nor Korea was a ‘Facebook market’ in our previous report – Korea’s primary social network was CyWorld, while Japanese social media users appeared to prefer Twitter – but the rapid growth of newer chat platforms may scupper the world’s favourite network’s plans to grow in these countries.
Similarly, while Qzone continues to be the region’s largest social network by active users, we expect to see this situation change in the coming months as a result of the increased implementation of China’s real name rules for social media use, and the continued expansion of platforms like WeChat (Weixin).
Indeed, WeChat’s success beyond its home market of China looks set to be one of the biggest social media stories in Asia over the next few months.
Given these trends, it’s clear that mobile’s role in the Asian social media landscape looks set to grow in importance, so look out for our upcoming post on using mobile to connect with Asian social audiences.
* Figures reflect monthly active users, except for Korea where we’ve used daily active user numbers. Note that user numbers for Japan and Korea have been extrapolated from available data.
Social Brands Part 3
We concluded Part 2 of our Social Brands series with the assertion that the marketers who understand how to add value to people’s lives are best placed to build enduring relationships with communities.
As with many aspects of marketing, this may seem like a statement of the obvious, but many marketers still struggle to turn this common sense into dollars and cents.
Interruption vs Interaction
Too much of today’s marketing relies on elaborate spectacle to divert people’s attention away from something else they were doing.
Indeed, brands have come to rely on interrupting people with increasingly shiny distractions, placing all the emphasis on short-term gains instead of building longer-term mutual value.
The result is ‘one-night-stand marketing’ – relationships based on pick-up lines and instant gratification at the expense of more meaningful, enduring relationships.
However, this approach is unsustainable; shouting for attention rarely wins over people’s hearts.
From One-Night Stands To Getting Engaged
The secret to better marketing is not about finding more efficient ways to interrupt people.
Rather, it’s about finding new ways to engage people as effectively as possible.
The secret to this engagement lies in adding value at every possible opportunity – offering people things that make their lives better, adding to their experiences instead of interrupting them.
In the future, marketing that doesn’t add value will simply be ignored.
From Ads To Added Value
This shift from interruption to added-value interaction will impact media too.
Publishers will need to evolve from an ad-funded model that is inherently value-detractive, and rethink their business model around an approach that delivers a more integral value proposition.
But it’s the shift to an audience-centric model – rather than a brand-oriented, media-centric model – that will have the greatest impact on marketing.
From Ego Media To Social Marketing
If marketers are to succeed tomorrow, they need to put their audiences first.
Critically, brands need to engage people around passions, not products.
In other words, marketing needs to be about them, not you.
Want to join the conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so why not share them in the comments. The next post in the Social Brands series explores the importance of mobile in the marketing of tomorrow.
Social Brands Part 2
In last week’s first post in our series on Social Brands & The Future Of Marketing, we noted that, “the most successful brands don’t just predict the future; they define the future on their own terms.”
We’re continuing that theme in today’s second post in the Social Brands series, exploring the importance of building social marketing activities around the people you care about, and not around specific technological features or platforms.
The Motivations Driving Social Networking
Most people visit social networking sites in order to connect with other people: to stay in touch with friends and family; to share things with colleagues and professional peers; and even to meet strangers with similar interests and needs.
Because of this, most people see social media as a means to an end, with that ‘end’ being social interaction.
Of course, there are many times when technology plays an important part in facilitating these connections; things like the filters on Instagram, or the sharing features common to most social networks, are all important aspects of our social networking experience.
However, people connect around the personal, social benefits these elements provide, and not around the functionality itself.
Critically, if those social benefits don’t exist – if the people we want to connect with are not present, or if our networks move on – then the platform quickly loses its value.
We’ve seen this happen many times before; the declines of Second Life, MySpace, and Friendster were all driven by the migration of their audiences, not by technical failures.
Sadly, when audiences move on from an incumbent Big Platform – and they invariably do – marketers quickly lose out.
The investments they’ve made in building large audiences specific to that platform stop delivering meaningful returns, because those audiences are invariably ‘non-transferrable’ (how many brands succeeded in migrating their Second Life audiences wholesale into Facebook without paying for the privilege?).
As a result, marketers need to stop relying on buying attention within specific platforms, and find a more resilient way of managing their social media activities.
From Platforms To Communities
The trick is to stop seeing social media as media, and to focus on the motivations and behaviours that drive people’s social activities instead.
Instead of buying attention in the hottest platforms of the day, tomorrow’s top brands will spend time understanding how to deliver value to the same people across different settings and contexts.
They will focus on nurturing active communities that choose to engage with and around the brand and its activities wherever and whenever they can.
Critically, they will use new platforms to offer incremental value – not simply as another means to interrupt people.
From Eyeballs To Heartstrings
The secret to building these ‘migratory’ communities is to understand people’s wants, needs, and desires, and to build engaging connections around them at every opportunity.
We need to understand what brings communities together, and build our strategies around their shared interests and passions, and not around technical functionality or platforms.
Above all, we need to add value to their lives at every opportunity – a topic we’ll explore in more detail in the next post in this Social Brands series.
Want to join the conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so why not share them in the comments.
The most successful brands don’t just predict the future; they define the future on their own terms.
To that end, we’ve developed Social Brands & The Future Of Marketing – a series of provocations designed to help you shape your brand’s vision of the future, and to start bringing that vision to life today.
We’ll be sharing all 8 provocations on the We Are Social blog over the next few days, and we’re kicking things off today with a contention that addresses one of the thorniest questions when it comes to social media: “How do we deliver real ROI”?
Social Equity Drives Brand Equity
As we’ve highlighted before, the key to delivering meaningful ROMI is to set clear business objectives at the outset, and to make sure that everything the brand does is focused on delivering those objectives.
However, many brands are still stuck in short-term, cyclical marketing. For reasons often beyond our control, marketers are still overly focused on this quarter’s results, and as a result we often miss the wood for the trees when it comes to social ROI.
The reality about relationships is that they take time to deliver their full potential.
However, once relationships reach this potential, the returns keep coming; ‘returns on relationships’ aren’t a one-time result.
So how do we build these meaningiful relationships?
The secret lies in understanding why people choose to talk about brands.
The Sociology Of Choice
The observation that people are highly social creatures is hardly a revelation, but it’s important to remember that people don’t make personal choices in isolation.
Indeed, many of the choices we make are influenced by our expectation of the reactions those choices will elicit from those around us.
The more confident we are that these expectations will be met, the greater our level of conviction when it comes to those choices.
As a result, the conversations we have with other people are one of the most important determinants of our brand choices.
Conversation Drives Compensation
Again, that’s hardly a revelation. However, many brands appear to be missing its commercial significance.
The reality is that brands which succeed in inspiring more favourable conversation are the ones that will succeed in building the greatest propensity for trial, and that are best placed to form lasting relationships with their audiences and consumers.
Therefore, more favourable conversations drive a more favourable financial outcome.
Critically, though, it’s the conversations between people that matter most, and not necessarily the conversations that those people are having directly with the brand.
Similarly, the conversation doesn’t have to start in social media for it to have value; everything the brand does – from packaging to advertising, and from customer service to recruitment – should be designed to maximise the greatest volume of peer-to-peer conversation.
Brands Worth Talking About
The implications of this are huge; for example, when it comes to a ‘content’ strategy, we shouldn’t start with the usual suspects like video or ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ status updates.
More importantly, we need to stop relying on conversations about content, and look at content as a means of inspiring and fuelling the conversations that really matter.
This means re-thinking our approach to brand communications.
Talk Is Cheap, But Conversations Have Value
We need to start by identifying what we want these brand conversation to be about, and then work out the most engaging and motivating ways of inspiring conversation.
That inspiration can come in many, many forms, and only a small number of them need to start in social media.
However, before you make any investments, be very clear about why the audience might want to be a part of this conversation.
Be honest with yourself – will they actually care? Is it really worth talking about?
ROI = “Return On Interest”
The good news is that getting this right has huge financial potential; a brand worth talking about is a brand that people are willing to pay more for.
In order to take advantage of this potential value, spend more time working out how your brand can become a relevant ‘social entity’.
Ultimately, building your social equity will help you to build your financial equity.
Want to join the conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions, so why not share them in the comments. In the next post in this series, we’ll explore the importance of building communities instead of buying audiences.
Over the past few months, we’ve been spending lots of time with senior marketers from some of the world’s biggest companies, and our conversations have culminated in a robust and actionable framework that enables brands to seize the opportunities presented by Social Media.
Today, we’re delighted to share the core of this new framework with you too.
It builds on our hugely popular Making Friends & Influencing People guide, which sets out We Are Social’s principles for effective and efficient Social Media Marketing.
As you’ll see in the full ‘Sharing Is Caring’ deck (above), this framework brings together a wealth of stimuli to help you start planning your own social media strategy, including:
- Best-in class case studies
- We Are Social’s core social media marketing principles
- Our powerful 8-Step Process
- Links to a variety of other resources that will help you maintain momentum and start bringing plans to life.
To give you a flavour of our thinking though, here’s an overview of our core principles:
Before you do anything, set your business objective: what do social media need to do? Only when you’ve answered this question should you start to plan your actual approach, as that approach needs to be tailored to deliver these specific results.
1. Start with people, not technology
At its heart, Social Media is a human discipline, not a digital one, and the most powerful social strategies start with the needs of your audience rather than technological platforms and digital novelty.
2. Build conversations, not campaigns
Broadcast comms do a great job of introducing brands through the marketing equivalent of a pick-up line. However, it’s difficult to build enduring relationships through one-liners and tag-lines alone. Instead, use social media to build the everyday conversations that deepen bonds with your audience and help to foster a real sense of brand affinity.
3. Use content as a means, not an end
As Cory Doctorow says, “Conversation is king; content is just something to talk about.” It’s true that content is always vital to a conversation strategy, but it’s what people do next, as a result of consuming that content, that ultimately delivers brand value.
4. Add value to the audience’s life
Spamming people with endless updates about your products through social media is the marketing equivalent of going on a date and only talking about yourself, and is unlikely to produce the desired results. You need to add value to the audience before you can add value to the brand.
5. Listening is the new shouting
The real value in a conversation lies in the listening. The good news is that people share a huge amount of honest and spontaneous information via social media, and there are a variety of tools available that enable marketers to listen to these public conversations and so learn how to deliver better value to their audiences.
6. Spread the love
Building a great social media presence doesn’t guarantee that people will come. Like all the best parties, you need to invite people to join in, and to keep the vibe alive once they’ve arrived. Advertising can help build this momentum, but engaging influencers and inspiring them to engage others is often more effective and more efficient.
7. Always be prepared
Murphy reminds us that if anything can go wrong, it probably will do sooner or later. Social media is a highly public environment, and things can go wrong. However, preparing a 3As plan – Alert, Assess, Act – can mitigate risks and ensure problems (and opportunities) are dealt with in the most effective way possible:
- Alert: set up tools and processes that raise the alarm if certain things happen.
- Assess: have a process in place that ensures the right people can determine the scale of the issue at hand, and what needs to be done about it, by whom, and when.
- Act: define clear roles and responsibilities so that everyone understands their role and can get moving quickly.
8. Measure your progress
If you can’t prove the ROI of social media activities, you probably need to rethink your approach. However, ROI isn’t just about sales and revenue, because everyone in the business ultimately contributes to those. When it comes to social media measurement, the important thing is to focus on your objectives, and track how social media is contributing to achieving them.
9. Optimise as you go
Social media are not a ‘set-and-forget’ environment; the opportunities for constant feedback and effective test-and-learn approaches mean that marketers can optimise their approach with every single activity, post and comment.
10. Make a commitment
When it comes to success in social media, The Supremes had it sussed as far back as 1966: “You can’t hurry love.” Meaningful relationships always take time to build, and the same is true in social media. Marketers need to make a concerted investment of time, effort and financial resource, but doing so strategically can deliver considerable returns on those investments.
As you may realise as you go though the deck above, the Sharing Is Caring approach is designed to prompt more questions than it answers, but does so from the perspective of ensuring that senior marketers understand which questions and processes can help them to build social media plans that actively contribute to their brands’ bottom line.
Critically, the framework delivers its greatest value when we share it in a truly interactive setting, so if you’d like to experience its full power for yourself and see how it can work for your brand, we’d be delighted to come in and present it to you and your teams; simply email us via firstname.lastname@example.org with some background to your brand and the opportunities and challenges you’d like to explore, and we can take the conversation from there.
Continuing our series of data snapshots for Social, Digital and Mobile usage worldwide, we’re pleased to share the latest numbers for the different regions around the world.
All indicators show significant growth since last year’s worldwide report, with mobile clearly the driving force for all aspects of our connected lives.
Internet penetration adds an extra 3 points year-on-year to reach exactly one third of the world’s population, posting growth of a quarter of a billion new users in the past 12 months.
Much of this growth has come from ‘developing’ nations, with Asia accounting for a significant proportion of the global growth.
Social media usage is up by almost the same volume, registering an additional 240 million new users in 2012.
However, in markets like China, the biggest shift we’ve been tracking is a change in usage patterns between different platforms, rather than growth in the absolute number of users of social networks.
Facebook continues to dominate the worldwide picture with close to a billion monthly active users, but Chinese platforms take the remaining 4 of the top 5 slots.
Sina and Tencent’s weibo offerings are clearly the biggest success stories over the past year, growing both their registered and active user bases by hundreds of millions.
Google+ has also made big gains since last year, although its 235 million monthly active users don’t quite give it enough weight to achieve ‘Global Top 5′ status. However, with more than 500 million registered users, it’s clear that Google+ has plenty more potential, and is surely one to watch in 2013.
Twitter continues its stellar growth too, passing 200 million active users a couple of months ago. The West’s favourite microblogging platform also passed the half-billion registered users milestone last year, and its popularity shows little sign of slowing.
Vkontakte continues to play an important role in Central and Eastern Europe, with the latest figures suggesting the platform has amassed just shy of 200 million registered users.
Meanwhile, the new breed of ‘Instant Messenger Plus’ platforms like WeChat (Weixin), Line and KakaoTalk look set to change the global social media landscape over the next few months, with Tencent’s WeChat already surpassing 300 million registered users.
The mobile growth story continues to impress, with more than half a billion new subscriptions activated around the world in 2012.
Mobile subscription penetration now exceeds 91% of the world’s population, and although like-for-like data are hard to come by, it seems mobile now reaches at least as many people around the world as television.
All indicators suggest continued growth throughout 2013 too, so the critical question marketers need to answer now is,
How are we going to integrate all of these opportunities into a consistent and engaging approach that builds real brand value?
The answers to that question will be central to our posts in the coming months here on the We Are Social blog.
Are you a spontaneous type who thrives on adventure and new experiences? A self-confessed social media addict who loves taking and sharing photos too? Well, you’d better listen up!
Volvic are on the hunt to find top-class, naturally bursting with life Content Creators to form part of Team Volcanicity 2013.
As you may have read in Marketing, we’ve recently launched a facebook app for Volvic UK which allows fans to apply to become part of the 2013 team who’ll be responsible for bringing ‘moments of Volcanicity’ to the masses, by capturing photos and sharing the scoop from festivals, gigs and trips up and down the country live on the Volvic UK facebook wall.
Those lucky enough to be selected will be supplied with a state-of-the-art camera plus funding towards adventures, or, exclusive access to some of the hottest gigs and events of the year.
To enter, fans simply have to upload a photo which expresses their Volcanicity along with a short description of what their idea of the best 2013 ever would be.
Entries are being accepted up until midnight on Friday 8th February (so if this is your thing, there’s still time to enter!).
In order to drive as much reach and engagement of the campaign as possible, Volvic are asking facebook fans to vote on their favourite competition entries. Those who vote will be entered into a weekly prize draw to win a Red Letter Day voucher so that they can choose an awesome Volcanicity experience of their choice.
Voting closes at midnight on Thursday 14th February and the top 5 entrants with the highest number of votes will be fast tracked to the next stage in the selection process, by-passing the judges. The remaining finalists will be selected based on the amount of Volcanicity expressed in their entry photo, in addition to whether the description of what their idea of the best 2013 is catches the panel’s attention.
One of the challenges which was put to us before launching this campaign was to make sure we help Volvic’s facebook fans to understand what ‘Volcanicity’ actually is…and because we love a challenge, we gladly accepted it. The output? Well, from the beginning of this year, not only did we ensure the facebook content was actively engaging fans with light-hearted ‘Volcanicity’ related games and updates, but we also reached out and secured 3 influential bloggers, who already demonstrate Volcanicity on their blogs, to introduce to the Facebook community as Team Volcanicity’s Founding Members.
We’ve already started sending our Team Volcanicity Founding Members on trips and adventures to capture content to share on the Volvic UK facebook page. We’ve been posting their content daily to firstly build buzz around the types of activities and events fans could take part in if they’re selected as part of the final team and, secondly, to demonstrate the sort of content we’re looking for from our entrants.
The quality of the entries so far have been really promising – there are definitely people out there who are already capturing moments of Volcanicity as part of their every day life, and it’s these people who are likely to be winning their ticket to the next round in the selection process.
What’s really exciting about all of this, is that finding the team is just the beginning for Volvic. The big idea behind the campaign is to be one of the first brands to put the Facebook content in the hands of the fans.
As we know, Facebook is pushing brands to deliver content that’s as relevant as the status updates we see from our friends. Ultimately, Team Volcanicity will become the page’s Community Managers, so that the content which is posted is much more likely to resonate with their peers and drive engagement.
The launch of the Team Volcanicity campaign has been a great kick-start to the year for Volvic – be sure to check out the Volvic UK page over the next few weeks to see who makes it into the final Team and follow their adventures as they bring Volcanicity to the masses.