25 Photosharing apps (a list in development)

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Ever since our campaign with Topshop where we used photosharing app Instagram we’ve become obsessed with photosharing apps, so we thought it would be interesting to collate a list of current photosharing apps that are available on the market and how they enable you to share photos.

Much like our list of social media management tools wiki, this is an ongoing project, so if you know of any others please let us know so we can add them to the list.

Application Device Free? Filters? Sharing options (aside from within the app itself)
AroundShare iPhone Y N Flickr, Twitter, Google, WordPress
Burstn iPhone Y Y Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr
Camera360 Android Y Y Facebook, Twitter
DailyBooth iPhone/Android Y N -
Diptic iPhone N Y Facebook, Twitter, Posterous
FilckFolio Android N N Flickr
Flickr iPhone Y N Flickr
FX Camera Android Y Y Facebook, Twitter
Hipstamatic iPhone N Y Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr
Instagram iPhone Y Y Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous
KyteProducer iPhone/Android Y N Facebook, Myspace
Path iPhone Y Y Facebook
PhanFare iPhone/Android Y Y Facebook
PhotoRocket iPhone/Android Y N Flickr, Twitter
Photoshop Exp. iPhone/Android Y Y Facebook, Twitter
Photovine iphone Y N -
PicPlz iPhone/Android Y Y Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous
PixelPipe iPhone Y N Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress
Plixi iPhone/Android Y N Facebook, Twitter
Posterous iPhone/Android Y N Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Posterous
Shutterfly iPhone/Android Y N -
Snapfish iPhone/Android Y N Facebook, Twitter
Streamzoo iPhone/Android Y Y Facebook, Twitter
Tumblr iPhone/Android Y N Tumblr
Twitxr iPhone Y N Twitter

Other fun apps with no photosharing options include:

  • Tiltshift (iphone): use the Tilt-shift technique to brings objects located near and far into focus. It allows you to focus in on a specific part of the photo, while blurring the surrounding image.
  • Camerabag - (iphone): has 8 different filter effects which you can apply to your photos.
  • Comic touch -(iphone): add comic speech bubbles to your photographs.
  • Picoli - (iphone): brighten; sharpen and apply multiple filters to you photographs.
  • Pano - (iphone): Select or take a few consecutive pictures which Pano will then stitch together to create a panorama photograph.
  • Blurb - (iphone): Create stories using photos, videos and audio sourced from mobile devices.
  • Night camera - (iphone/Android): helps you make your night photographs less blurry, more sharpened and more precise.
  • PhotoCalc - (iphone/Android): not a photo taking app; it enables you to calculate the correct exposure and flash settings.

Apps added since the list was published:

  • Mobypicture - shoot and share on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Hyves and more. Available on iphone, android, blackberry and Nokia.

Facebook Messenger app: Merging the lines between email and instant messaging

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I’ve been making use of Facebook‘s new Messenger app for the past few weeks, and it’s fair to say it’s made a big difference to the way I use Facebook as a whole. In fact, their new service seems to be blurring the lines between email and instant messaging.

The app is still unavailable within the UK iTunes Store, despite working absolutely fine. This is probably as a result of the negative press around Blackberry’s BBM service after the rioting across the UK. I managed to download the app thanks to a US iTunes account I have access to.

When using the full Facebook iPhone app, a notification of a new message would sometimes take hours to arrive. This would deter me from dropping a line to friends through Facebook as I wouldn’t be sure if the message would arrive or not.

Notifications from the Messenger app are now almost instant - blurring the line between an instant messenger and email and making Facebook’s Messages strategy from last last year even more real.

In perhaps a precursor to the changes announced this week to the way Facebook Places works, you can also append your location to a message, so friends can see where you are. I think this more subtle embedding of location alongside messages between friends will be much more useful than a check in.

It’s also really clear that the launch of this app is a strategic move by Facebook to run head-to-head to BBM (and the soon to launch) iMessage network. One of the weaknesses of both of these networks is that they’re closed. You can’t exchange messages between non-Blackberry owning friends, and you won’t be able to send an iMessage to a friend who doesn’t have an iOS device.

Facebook’s Messages strategy sees it looking to merge email and IM into a single location, open to anyone regardless of the mobile platform they use. The Messenger app is a really tangible example of this, and a great alternative to some of the standalone messaging services currently available.

6 areas where social media can be used in the insurance customer value chain

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social-media-insurance-customer-value-chain

Image courtesy of Ernst & Young

In a recent report,  Ernst and Young lookedspecifically at how social media be used in the insurance customer value chain.

Here’s a summary of the findings, with some of our own thoughts:

1. Research products

Customers are using dedicated price comparison sites in order to research insurance products. They’re also asking questions, through social media, to their connections and friends, seeking advice on things like the best car insurance company, or where to get the best deal.

Our suggestion: Insurance companies should use social media monitoring to listen to these conversation and find out what’s being said about their products. This will help to assess both the positive and negative perceptions behind the products and how this influences the research stage of the customer value chain. If they’re not being talked about perhaps this is an indicator that marketing and promotional activites need to be reassessd.

It may also be appropriate for some brands to establish Twitter and Facebook profiles in order to respond to the requests through social networks for more information about where to get the best car insurance etc. However this should be assessed on a brand by brand, interaction by interaction basis as some customers may resent hearing back directly from a brand and will see it as a hard sell.

2. Obtain quotes

Some insurers are using new technology, like iphone apps, to generate, buy and renew insurance quotes. An online research company targeting advisers has developed the country’s first app for life insurance quotes.

Our suggestion: Mobile device use is on the increase and insurers would do well to think about how they can enable their current and prospective customers to access price and data information  on the go. This could be particularly valuable for travel and car insurance companies.

3. Policy buying

According to Ernst and Young’s industry research, 90% of customers say peer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising.

Our suggestion: Reviews and recommendations from “people like me” play an integral part in the customer decision making process. A good review by an influential blogger, or a comment by a social media influencer who appeals to the consumer audience can be more valuable than thousands of pounds worth of advertising. By interacting and engaging with influencers, brands can build up their presence and appeal to their target audience.

4. Service policy

Social media allows insurers to interact and communicate with customers, and vice versa. This helps the insurer learn more about their customer’s needs and helps them educate about the best policies, the benefits of their current policies etc.

Our suggestion: Insurance companies need to assess the best way for engaging with their market and audience. The best way to do this is to come up with a social media management plan and a content strategy that is personalised, useful, relevant and targeted.

5. Lodge claim

Many insurers are building and piloting new applications to capitalise on the prevalence of mobile and app based communication to deliver information to claims handlers and policy holders. They’re also offering self-service portals where claims can be lodged quickly and effectively.

Our suggestion: Social media can help to disseminate useful information that could help to reduce claims. For example, travel insurers could provide useful advice about keeping valuables safe in hostile environments or extreme weather conditions. Claim handlers could also mine Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to assess the legitimacy of claims based on the data, comments and conversations of the claimant.

6. Renewal/Terminate policy

Customers mostly turn to websites to fulfill their renewal and termination needs, thus the same potential exists for insurers to use social media as a means to improve renewal numbers.

Our suggestion: One of the main benefits of social media is the potential to gather valuable CRM data. For the insurance industry this could be information like  renewal dates, policy types etc. If this information is gathered then engagement could revolve around not only acquiring new customers, but targeting them before their renewal date to encourage them to renew the policy, or change to a different one, rather than terminate.

Why Microsoft keep getting it wrong - social, search, music, messaging and more…

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Image courtesy of Arbit blog

Contrary to popular perception, Microsoft is one of the most revolutionary software-makers out there, yet it has been eclipsed by Apple, Google and others. Why? Let’s look at some examples:

Search Wars

Everyone I know loves to use Google, including me.  But I also use Bing too. Why? Because it’s a great search engine for browsing and it’s beautifully conceived. Its social search feature is good, but needs improvement and I love its Twitter map, when it works.

However, I tend to use Google more because its results - and I’m not sure whether this is down to perception or algorithm - tend to be more accurate. Google is also moving incredibly quickly on social search, aided by wins with Google Plus and +1s and I can see the beginnings of change to my search behaviour as a result.

Bing is a fantastic product that could do with improvement. Microsoft is on the right track, but it needs to show users exactly what to do with its product. So many of Bing’s great features are tucked away behind several clicks or are broken and even if it was on the ball with social search, I have no real incentive to remain logged in to Bing.

Music and Storage

Here’s where Microsoft has really missed out. Its Zune platform is arguably better than iTunes but it’s still not as intuitive as it has to be to succeed. It does not have the best of libraries and, like the iTunes Store, it suffers from being expensive, even for those of us who wish to pay for content. It is, however, substantially easier to use than iTunes.

And have any of you heard of SkyDrive? Don’t worry, it’s likely you haven’t and this is Microsoft’s fault. Quite some time before the announcement of iCloud, Microsoft released its SkyDrive which offers free storage space that’s well-integrated to Windows Platforms.

Apple tried to create a social network based on its distribution platform (Ping) which failed miserably. Microsoft hasn’t trialled an equivalent, nor should it. Microsoft should instead focus on creating an experience which integrates elements of the most popular social networks. If I could use Zune online with music streaming and Facebook integration with the ability to quickly and securely share cloud-based files with my Facebook or Google contacts, I would. Google does not currently have a platform that does this, nor does Apple. There is room to implement it first and throw some weight behind it in advance of the realisation of the Microsoft-Nokia partnership.

Messaging

Messaging is another area where Microsoft was a clear leader that lost the edge. At one stage, everyone I knew online was on Windows/MSN messenger. I haven’t logged in to chat for about three years. It gained primacy at a time when other free messengers were harder to use and were substantially less aesthetically pleasing. Yahoo! messenger began the challenge and now messaging is multi-platform and opportunity-based. I’ll chat to some people via gmail, others via Facebook chat or Skype and still others across Google’s various platforms.

Mail

Microsoft had it horribly wrong with Hotmail. There was a time when everyone I knew had a hotmail account, but frustration with it was limitless. When Google offered me a free e-mail solution that was easy to use, searchable and wouldn’t delete my e-mails when I was on a long holiday, I leapt at the opportunity.

Microsoft has since tried to improve Hotmail. It’s a much better product than it once was but it still retains that hotmail clutter and traditional usability issues. Microsoft needs to seriously think about reexamining the entire engine and a possible rebrand. In this, it can learn from Apple - look at mac.com to mac.me to the new iCloud.

So why do Microsoft keep getting it wrong?

The broad problem, pieced together from the above, is that Microsoft’s vision is spot on but its implementation is poor. Bing’s social offering just doesn’t compare and this is possibly the biggest challenge facing Microsoft. On top of that, its online search-social brand identity is distributed through several different brands that are difficult to tie together under one umbrella. With Google I have Google Mail, Google Plus and my Google Docs tied together with search with one easy toolbar. I even have a portal of sorts with iGoogle. The branding is broadly spot on. Not so with Microsoft. We go from Bing to Hotmail to Messenger to SkyDrive, loosely connected with the boring, tacked-on Microsoft brand.

It needs to update its Hotmail platform to compete with Gmail and other superior mail providers. It needs to shift the Hotmail brand to something else (perhaps BingMail or BMail). It needs to lose the MSN focus and make Bing its centrepiece as Google has done for its search engine. It needs to then properly integrate its messenger system. Perhaps if the system became an aggregator for chat akin to Adium we could see a branded winner? It then needs to make sure it works across multiple software platforms. It’s getting it right with Windows Phone (to an extent) but it needs to be easy to use on other operating systems, from Mac OS X to Linux.

Combine the above with BingDrive and a good, cheap streaming service (BingSound?) and Microsoft could be on course to realising its vision.

Social media case study: The #Turkcelltweet Campaign by Turkcell

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Turkcell, a Turkish telecoms company, was looking for a way to market their new offering - smart phones bundled with internet packages.

However, their biggest problem was that their target market - heavy internet users- was ‘immune’ to the traditional online advertising techniques that they frequently used.

Hence the development of the #Turkcelltweet campaign.

The #Turkcell Tweet Campaign

The #Turkcelltweet campaign involved covering a box, with a smartphone inside it, with post-its containing small messages which people had to tweet to get them removed.

Along the way word and picture games were played and the winners won packages and minutes. Finally, to win the phone, the participants had to get a their message re-tweeted by a famous celebrity.

Here’s the video showing how it worked:

(you can see the video with a voiceover here)

Headline stats:

  • The campaign ran for 3 hours a day, for 7 days.
  • 56,734 Tweets under #turkcelltweet.
  • 8 days on the trending list.
  • Several big celebrities got involved.
  • 3.6million campaign impressions.

Why this is a great campaign

Perhaps one of the most impressive elements of this campaign is the insight that was used in order to inform their competition strategy; accepting that their target market was immune to their traditional marketing and advertising methods  and moving into their domain on Twitter to approach them is very clever.

One of the other things that really stands out is the mechanics of the competition itself. By restricting the competitionto 3 hours a day, they focused the activity and increased their chances of hitting the trending lists. On top of this, the use of post-its and word games allowed for the control of pace, and the incentivisation of prizes along the way was a great way of keeping people invested in taking part.

What didn’t quite add up

In a way the campaign’s biggest hook was its biggest weakness; Twitter is a relatively ephemeral medium, and although the recent changes look to be addressing such gaps, it’s a well known fact that a huge number of people leave the web UI in favour of third party apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Seesmic. It is this ‘flash in the pan’ nature of tweeting that makes continued engagement with Twitter followers incredibly hard compared to somewhere like Facebook, for example.

Plus,  while the campaign had some big campaign impressions stats, it is questionable how much this campaign actually added to the bottom line. It is a great case study though, from the idea and execution perspective, and there may well be reasons why the business benefit to Turkcell can’t be shared.

In Summary

At the end of it you can’t really fault this campaign that much, and if you do then you’re trying too hard. It is the sheer simplicity of it that really grabs the attention: how could a box covered in post-its create such a wave of interaction? The answer is right there - it was a simple campaign that built a foundation on using actionable insight in order to make their target market take notice.