Social Bento: 6th June 2014

 Instagram’s New Editing Tools

This week saw Instagram unveil a new update, that we are sure will please Instagram enthusiasts. With ten new tools and seven updated ones, you will be stuck for choice when it comes to editing your photos on the image sharing site. You can now adjust the intensity of the filter you apply to a picture, sharpen images and use other tools such as adjust, saturation, warmth and highlight. The new update has very similar features to other separate editing tools such as VSCO cam which may now be redundant for users. What do you think of the new Instagram 6.0 update?

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference

Monday night saw Apple’s 2014 WWDC roll round. The twittersphere was rife all day with rumours of what could be announced, and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t checking the hashtag repeatedly for news! So what actually came out of WWDC? First of all a lot of information was released about iOS 8, and it was revealed that most Apple devices will be working with the new update, except for the 2010 iPhone4. This means that all devices will also have touch ID; a feature that only the iPhone5 has at present. It was also revealed how SMS messages and phone calls will now pop up on your Mac, meaning you never have to miss a text or phone call again if you’re phone isn’t near you. There were lots of other iOS 8 features revealed, such as a quick type keyboard, and interactive notifications.  The keynote also announced details about their new Health app, and their plans for HomeKit.  We love the idea of HomeKit, it’s exciting that we are a step closer to being able to control most of our household appliances through our iPhones. Though now we all are eager to hear about the iPhone 6!

Is Tinder trying to be like Snapchat?

This week Tinder announced news of their latest update, with a certain feature which seemed rather familiar. The dating app, which shows you single people in your local area and lets you like their profile and talk to one another, has a new feature that means you can also share photos with one another that will self destruct in 24 hours. It’s supposed to allow the users to show another side to themselves as well as their profile picture. The ‘moments’ will be sent out, and the recipients can either ignore the photo or like it. There have been talks that there may be a block button for unwanted photos such as body shots. With the new update, it seems that most platforms are trying to get on the Snapchat bandwagon, with Apple also revealing familiar Snapchat features in new iOS 8 update.

Google Maps New Transport Options

Google Maps have added some unusual forms of transport to their platform.  With their Easter Eggs popping up every now and then, it was found that both the Loch Ness Monster and the Royal Carriage are among the transport options for journeys. With the mythical monster, being an urban legend for years, between Fort Augustus and Urquhart castle, Nessie will take you on a 28 minute trip, which is definitely a speedier than the bus! The Queen’s Royal Carriage is also featured, when looking for routes between Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, but you will need to practise your royal wave first! In Wales you even have the option of travelling by dragon between Snowdon and the Brecon Beacons. Which mode of transport would you prefer? The girls in the office are opting for the Royal Carriage, whilst the boys are definitely more interested in travelling by dragon!

IFTTT

This week we found a genius app that will change the way you use social platforms. IFTTT (which is pronounced ‘gift’ without the ‘g’) is all about making the internet work for you; allowing the user to create ‘recipes’ between platforms. Say for example you want a tweet to be sent out every time you publish a blog post, or you want your instagram photos turned into a twit pic automatically, IFTTT takes care of all this. You can also configure recipes such as muting your phone as soon as you get into the office! We have been playing with the website all week, and now have recipes applied for all sorts, but we’re yet to find one for putting the kettle on!

 

Social Bento: 16th May 2014

LG G watch

Another week, another smart watch. This week it was LG’s turn to release new details about their new smart watch. The G watch will go on sale in a few months and an exclusive video teaser has been released with a sneak peek of the new first commercial device powered by Google’s Android Wear platform. The watch will also be water and dual resistant and other features include an always on display and the Google Now integration in Android Wear. All we need to know now is when the G Watch will be released!

The new affordable smart phone: Moto-E

This week also saw some exciting technology news from Motorola with the launch of their new Smartphone. Marketed as an affordable android, Motorola’s Moto E will have features such as 4GB of memory storage, 4.3inch screen with a 540×960 resolution. In the teaser video, Motorola concentrates on three features, a water splash proof body, interchangeable coloured back covers, and each phone will come with Google’s latest software. The camera is only 5 mega pixels but the software is fast and has a long lasting battery. The best bit about the Moto E? The price. In the UK you can get the smartphone f   or £80 without a contract. Will you be ditching your smartphone for the budget version?

BBC’s new infographics for social media

The BBC has released new details on their new social media plans. This week they announced they are going to be sharing daily infographics on current news stories which will be shared on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest. This is set to be a new way for the BBC to connect with their audience and reach out to a brand new one. The infographics are part of the social media experiments that the BBC have been testing out in recent months, such as Instafax, BBC trending, and experiments with Whatsapp and WeChat in the Indian elections. The daily infographics will also be collected for a round up on the BBC website. The aim is to add an insight into a current big news story. We’re looking forward to seeing the BBC’s new infographics and it’s great to see news being taken out of the box and communicated within social media, which is ultimately the fastest place to now get news.

Snapchat rises in popularity

Data released this week showed that Snapchat has become the biggest messaging app by volume in the US. The app is reported to be gaining more traffic every day other over messaging apps such as WhatsApp. Traffic specialist Sandvine carried out the data research and also found that video apps still dominates the charts of network traffic. The new stats how much we are using messaging and video apps. With Snapchat latest update with the new messaging and video feature, the app is technically combining two of the most popular app features right now. This means that Snapchat could easily take over as the most popular app. Sandvine agreed by saying that Snapchats rise in popularity is due to being able to message people using different types of media such as photos and videos, whilst WhatsApp is where you can only message people through plain text. Due to the rising popularity of Snapchat rumours have been circulating about how Google has apparently offered $10 billion for the site. Sandvine found lots of other traffic reports about Snapchat including usage on New Year’s Eve. You can find the rest of the data here.

Gmail reaches 1 billion downloads

This week saw Gmail really show how much they are ahead of other web based email services, when their android app has reached the one billion mark on the Google play store. However the downloads doesn’t actually calculate to accounts, it’s the total number of unique accounts. This means that there could be duplicate or abandoned accounts, but still 1 billion is pretty good going. The last time any usage figures for Gmail were released was in 2012, when the figures were 425 million. However the usage figures have gone up since Gmail is now bundled with Android phones. Reports say that Gmail reached the 1 billion mark on May 6th, and other apps such as Google Search, Face book and Google maps are catching up on the almost 1 billion mark. Gmail is our favourite web based email, are you one of the other 1 billion people who love it too?

Pinterest testing new Q&A

This week Tech Crunch developer Tom Waddington has discovered a new feature on Pinterest. A question and answer feature seems to be currently being tested. The questions would be a dedicated section where pinner’s can get more information about certain pins. A pinterest spokesperson didn’t give too much away about the new feature apart from saying “We’re always gathering feedback from Pinners to make Pins more useful. We’re currently testing the ability to ask and answer questions in a more structured way on Pins, with a small group of Pinners.”The new feature means that we could be able to gain more information about pins, and find out where their original source is from. Waddington also said how he thinks this feature will help to bring back inactive users. Would you use this Q&A feature? We think it’d be great to find article sources from certain pins.

Blog posts get shared most at the weekend

This week Emarketer shared some very insightful information about when blog posts are most likely to be shared over the week. They found that brand blogs are posting over the working week which is when most consumers are working, and may be missing out on posts. An April 2014 study from Trackmaven found that most bloggers post on weekdays, in fact 87% of weekly blog content is pushed out on Monday – Friday. But the data proved that although bloggers post in the week, their sharing figures are higher at the weekend. The report found that blog posts posted on a Saturday or Sunday had a bigger social share percentage than those posted in the week. They recommend posting at the weekend to get a better probability of your post being shared. When do you think is the best place to post a blog post? We personally think a Friday afternoon is the best time ;)

The Internet of Things to dominate our lives by 2025

The Internet of Things and wearable’s are set to be making a huge impact on our lives by 2025. With reports this week of Samsung’s Gear Glass due to be released in September, wearables are becoming more and more popular. Experts from the Pew Research centre carried out the research, to mark the anniversary of the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. Experts believe that internet of things will affect our daily lives by being apparent by using them for fitness and health, our homes; we will be able to control appliances through to how often our garden is watered. To communities, with apps being able to monitor pollution, to goods and services and finally to the environment. In 2013, there were 13 billion internet connected devices, but experts expect there to be 50 billion in 2020. We can’t wait to see more Internet of Things devices come out, last week we spotted one for umbrella data which calculates how much rain is falling, and we really think these new devices connected to the internet will change our lives.

Flappy bird is returning!

Good news to all Flappy Bird fans, as it’s returning, but not till August. Developer Dong Nguyen has told CNBC that’s he’s bringing back the app but with a multiplayer feature. Nguyen originally pulled the app after finding its popularity had gotten too much, and he didn’t like the disruption on his quiet life. However his life must have gotten too quiet, as he is bringing it back much too many people’s delight later this summer. Are you excited? We were a bit rubbish at Flappy Bird, but at least we can now have another go!

You can also find this week’s Social Bento as a Flipboard

Helping retail marketers build a social brand

Here at Headstream we believe that getting social media included as early as possible in the business and marketing strategy process is key to its success. With this in mind, and to help out those retail sector marketers who are embarking on strategy planning for 2013, we’ve created the ‘Building a retail social brand’ white paper.

It is an essential guide for any retail marketer, and through a combination of case studies, analysis and trend spotting sets out to answer the following questions:

- How can retail brands get more out of social media, and increase return on investment?

- What does social media best practice amongst retail brands look like currently?

- What is the next social innovation that will impact the retail sector?

- What immediate steps should you take to ensure your social media planning and execution is successful?

Retail has been transformed by the move to e-commerce since the advent of the web, and continues to be one of those sectors most rapidly affected by social media innovation. The increasing penetration of smart-phones and tablets that allow shoppers to access their networks while in-store ensures that this pace of change will continue, and that there are exciting times ahead.

We hope you find our white paper useful, and as ever we’d love to know your thoughts.

Social Brands 100 Methodology in detail

With just one week to go until the launch of Social Brands 100 the SB100 book is at the printers, and the finishing touches are being made to the launch event plans!

On May 29th the final ranking of the shortlisted 100 brands will be revealed for the first time, based on each brand’s Social Brand Score. This Social Brand Score is the sum of a Data Score (the score on which the shortlisting of brands was decided), and a Panel Score generated by an expert panel of judges that has assessed and scored each of the shortlisted 100 brands.

Ahead of the launch of the ranking, here is a slide deck that outlines the Social Brands 100 methodology in detail.

Are you actively listening?

Active Listening is one of the three core principles we have identified that organisations need in order to build Social Brands. We intentionally chose this descriptor because Active Listening is the intent to ‘listening for meaning’ which we felt better expressed the purpose of this activity as opposed to the generic ‘monitoring’ label that is often used. (See the Wikipedia entry for further definition.)  

For us Active Listening is a term that incorporates seven discrete activities, typically layered one on top of the other, plus the advice, consultancy and strategy that ensures it’s being applied appropriately within an organisation.

1. Monitor – Ongoing monitoring of conversations via keyword searching is the most basic of these activities. This could be done by using one, or a combination of, paid for or free tools. Some of the free tools available provide platform or channel specific like Twitter Search and Google Blog Search, whilst others have a broader search net like Addictomatic and Socialmention. It is also possible to build a fairly comprehensive ‘monitoring system’ as explained by Chris Brogan’s excellent ‘Grow Bigger Ears‘ blog post.

2. Measure – Next you should be looking to identify some appropriate metrics, with these in place you are then into the activity of measuring. Hopefully those metrics will have some targets and will be linked to some business objectives – see point 3 of our ‘7 Steps Social Media Analytics Strategy‘. This activity 

3. Track – Closely linked to measuring is tracking, where trends can be discovered over time. For example this could be tracking the sentiment around a brand, the number of comments on a blog post or the number of retweets. What we’re interested in here is tracking the velocity and acceleration of any changes as this will start to turn the data into information which we can respond to. Nathan Gilliatt provides further detail around tracking velocity and acceleration in his blog post ‘Derivatives in media measurement‘.

4. Alert - In order to respond to a real-time online crisis, or opportunities for that matter, it is important to consider setting up your alerts. These alerts can be based on a volume threshold for some of the metrics that you’re tracking or be based on the mention of a specific phrase that you may be monitoring such as ‘Brand sucks’ or ‘Brand FAIL’.

5. Insights – Over time you are going to be building up a huge volume of data, all of which could provide a wealth of insights. Depending on how you’re collecting and holding this data will depend on how insightful and how easy it will be to mine. Currently we find that appending information manually to the data collected provides the best results. These insights could be applied right across the organisation from product development to customer service, from HR to marketing.

6. Disseminate – Obvious although not happening comprehensively enough from my experience, the output from all of the five active listening activities above need to get to the right person within the organisation at the right time.

7. Act - And lastly, to ensure that the listening has been Active Listening we need to ensure that the business responds to what has been heard either through immediate action or by informing future strategy.

So, this is our approach, what do you think and how are you doing things differently?

 

Are you actively listening?

As we move from tactical social media activity to a more strategic approach we’ll need to start thinking about how we are going to build social brands.

Well, I think we need to focus on three core principles, the first of which is listening to our stakeholders and markets.  This is obvious and many organisations have already started listening although I wonder how many are actively listening? Wikipedia defines active listening as the intent to ‘listening for meaning’ which I think is more aligned to what we want to do. I’d like to go even further and suggest that active listening should be considered as a systematic, comprehensive process, starting with monitoring and finishing with action.

1. Monitor - Ongoing monitoring of conversations via keyword searching is the most basic of these activities. You can do this by using one, or a combination of, paid-for or free tools. Some of these free tools are platform or channel specific like Twitter Search and Google Blog Search, whilst others have a broader search net like Addictomatic and Socialmention. It is also possible for you to build a fairly comprehensive ‘monitoring system’ as explained by Chris Brogan’s excellent ‘Grow Bigger Ears‘ blog post.

2. Measure - Next you should be looking to identify some appropriate metrics, with these in place you are then into the activity of measuring. These metrics should have some targets and be linked to some business objectives – see this post for more info ‘7 Steps Social Media Analytics Strategy‘.

3. Track - Closely linked to measuring is tracking, where trends can be discovered over time. For example you could be tracking the sentiment around a brand, the number of comments on a blog post or the number of retweets. What we’re interested in here is tracking the velocity and acceleration of any changes as this will start to turn the data into information which we can respond to. Nathan Gilliatt provides further detail around tracking velocity and acceleration in his blog post ‘Derivatives in media measurement‘.

4. Alert - In order to respond to a real-time online crisis, or opportunities for that matter, it is important to consider setting up your alerts. These alerts can be based on a volume threshold for some of the metrics that you’re tracking or be based on the mention of a specific phrase that you may be monitoring such as ‘Brand sucks’ or ‘Brand FAIL’.

5. Insights - Over time you are going to be building up a huge volume of data, all of which could provide a wealth of insights. Depending on how you’re collecting and holding this data will depend on how insightful and how easy it will be to mine. Currently I believe that appending information manually to the data collected provides the best results. These insights could be applied right across the organisation from product development to customer service, from HR to marketing.

6. Disseminate - Obvious although not happening comprehensively enough from my experience, the output from all of the five active listening activities above need to get to the right person within the organisation at the right time.

7. Act - And lastly, to ensure that the listening has been Active Listening we need to ensure that the business responds to what has been heard either through immediate action or by informing future strategy.

So are you monitoring, actively listening or somewhere in-between? It would be great to hear about your approach?

What can a 2 year old teach us about social brand strategy?

Yesterday, had a cracking day in the company of some people interested in social media. Here are the bits of the story I told about the role creativity has to play in creating brand strategies that excite!

Chapter 1: Meet Benjamin Buckley – What can a 2 year old teach us about social media strategy? Well, quite a lot actually.

1. Life is augmented – not about platform or technology – real and virtual environments are combined.
2. Wireless, but connected.
3. Blended and seem-less brand experiences.
4. Content moves between media – portable and sharable.
5. Content has value – utility, entertainment, personal value, information and monetary.
6. Things have to be worth doing!

Chapter 2: Where do social ideas come from?

1. It’s not blank paper we fear, but blank screens.
2. We live in a three screen nation.
3. Was your brand built for a pixel world?
4. Our advice? – focus on people by doing an engagement brief – be better creators by telling better stories.
5. Lovingly borrowed from Chip and Dan Heath – Made to stick: be masters of exclusion, generate interest and curiosity that lasts, explain things in concrete ways, let people test ideas, make someone feel something about your content and multiply stories through exciting story telling.
6. The barriers? tools are limited, budgets run out and we don’t focus on what is in it for me.

Chapter 3:

1. Active listening is about finding out what people care about and is more than tracking and measuring ROI.
2. John Carver (policy governance guru) reminds us that it is better to measure less of the right stuff, than all of the wrong stuff.

Chapter 4:

1. Appropriate social behaviours come from being compelling, true, authentic and transparent.

Chapter 5:

1. Win-win relationships happen when you understand people better.
2. Results are not what you might expect in social spaces.
3. People love content about them.