Archive for the ‘Hamid Sirhan’ Category.

Twinteresting: why can’t we curate tweets?

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Favourite curate tweets

It is no secret that Pinterest is a great way to share discoverable content. The “waterfall stream” format can really help rapid skimming of visual content. Take, for example, the ‘Pinterest for Facebook’,  Friendsheet, or Pinstagram, the Pinterest-style Instagram feed. People are finding ways to curate images from a variety of sources, but what about the ability to do this with items that are primarily textual, or links?

Using favourites as a stopgap

I use Twitter prolifically, but a lot of my usage focuses on finding new information - blog posts and news stories, language resources and videos - and I often ‘favourite’ posts of interest to keep tabs on the links and commentary provided.

A thousand favourites later, and this system is incredibly difficult to manage. I’ve used an interim solution in the form of sending these favourites to Evernote, but it’s not great. I need something that will let me curate these posts - divide them into categories, automatically fill out previews and be presented in an easy way to skim and share. If it can let me keep track of conversations as well, then all the better.

Curating tweets

I suppose what I’m looking for is something that crosses Storify with Pinterest. Let me very quickly ‘pin’ tweets to boards, assign a category and review them later at my leisure.

This is something that Twitter itself needs to do. I know it has a focus on providing simplicity, to ensure that all users have easy access. This doesn’t mean that heavy users should be ignored. We’re talking about improving the favourites system. It’ll be easier for me to a keep a track of others’ Tweets and it should also make it easier for brands to discover content of interest. Twitter lists let me keep a track of other people - why not let me keep track of Tweets? Why can’t I create galleries of interesting thoughts?

Image credit: liveandrock on Flickr

China: The Future of Social Commerce

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We recently highlighted the surge in ‘Chinese Pinterest clones’ on this blog and when asked by the BBC to comment on an article on the same topic, I mentioned “I am looking to these Chinese clones to provide the next key paradigms in social commerce.” Two days later, we excitedly read the McKinsey China report on  ‘China’s Social Media Boom’; the results were impressive.

Chinese netizens

China’s internet audience is huge – over 500 million – and growing rapidly. More importantly, this audience is active with over 50% spending more than 12 hours a week online. 95% of netizens living in cities with a population in excess of 2.5 million are registered on a social networking site and Chinese internet users spend an average 46 minutes per day on such sites.

Trust in Chinese e-commerce

This has great significance. This is already the largest internet population in the world and it looks like the most actively social. The Chinese internet population is also heading towards forming the largest e-commerce market in the world by 2015.

China predicted e-commerce boom

When I lived in China 2006/2007, it was nigh impossible to order physical goods online – trust in infrastructure was simply not yet there. The impressive growth in e-commerce sales indicates a greater trust in China’s postal network and e-commerce sites.

The issue of trust is important in marketing to Chinese consumers. Peer-to-peer recommendations have a more profound impact, as the McKinsey report says this is likely due to a distrust of formal institutions. Building networks of trusted influencers – not as a commodity but as groups of people who can and will trust your products and messages – will be crucial to online interaction with Chinese netizens.

Social Commerce

This leaves the issue of social commerce. One of the more interesting insights into the rise of Pinterest clones is that they tend to have closer links with e-commerce. While Pinterest has had trouble implementing its revenue model, Chinese sites like Faxian showcase what can be bought and funnel users to a purchase.  Per McKinsey:

‘As e-commerce rises, a compelling opportunity for brands will be to prompt immediate purchases online by consumers searching for product information using social media.’

The key to unlocking these immediate purchases will be through harnessing netizen recommendation.

Social media case study: Dettol in China

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Brands and businesses are trying, more and more, to engage Chinese audiences online, particularly consumer and FMCG brands.

Recently, Reckitt Benckiser cleaning and disinfectant brand Dettol carried out a social media campaign in China to demonstrate that influencer marketing and word-of-mouth can be successful not just for the likes of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, but also for more mundane, household brands that appear in weekly shopping baskets.

The campaign helped to increase sales of Dettol products in Nanjing by 86% in comparison to the pre-campaign average.

Here’s a quick case study overview of Dettol’s social media/word of mouth campaign in China:

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Forget being a Facebook competitor; Google+ is the future of social search

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If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already signed up for Google+ or you’re teetering on the brink. At the very least, you’re probably wondering why you should bother signing up for Google+ at all.

At the moment it seems like most analysts and digital types are being quite mean about Google+ , but whether you like it or not, Google+ will be a ‘success’. This is not a revelation - Google simply has the resources and network to make Google+ work.

Take Google’s staggered roll-out, for example. It wanted to get something out there early to make an initial impact; to say “We’re here in your social space”.

This, of course, led to condemnation and fear that it would be the next Google Buzz: “Nobody’s on it. What’s there to do? I’m going back to Facebook.” But a lot of this attitude and negativity comes down to viewing Google+ as a Facebook competitor. It’s not.

What Google+ is, though, is part of the future of search engine marketing and social search. It’s becoming clearer that instead of taking Facebook head on in Facebook’s domain, Google has created a network that will be an integrated part of Google’s entire ecosystem.

Google started by creating a seemingly ‘stand-alone’ social network. It has now reworked YouTube to focus on social video discovery and social video search. Google+ is not the only network to feature in its recommendation engine – you can add Facebook too.

What’s next? Well, this is only the beginning of these changes. We’ll see similar social integration in Google’s main search offering, Google Docs and even Gmail. This will be the culmination of a mix between improved search and the collaborative principles that underpinned (the sadly failed) Google Wave. With improvements, the extended Google+ integration will make sense. Imagine:

I’m studying history at university. My lecturer or course has a Google+ account and the video is broadcast live as a hangout to a group of students who may not be able to make it to the lecture hall. After the lecture is finished, the hangout will be uploaded to YouTube to share. Students can import it from YouTube into Google Docs as a video document which can then be annotated and shared on Google+ with other members of the class or directly to a mailing list from Google+ by clicking the ‘gmail’ option. We can base a hangout on one of these video documents as an informal seminar.

Soon, Google+ won’t be a choice; It will be a tool we use as naturally as gmail and Google.com. It will change the way we collaborate on, share and discover data. It will help change the way we enjoy information. Don’t think of Google+ as a social network;  think of it as part of our social future.

Why you should secure your brand name on China’s Twitter, Sina Weibo

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China has the biggest market for social networks in the world. Restrictions by the Chinese government has caused several western social networks (e.g. Facebook) difficulty from entering the market, while naitve platforms have thrived. One of these is Sina Weibo, a microblogging service or, as many call it, ‘China’s Twitter’.

Why register an account on Sina Weibo?

Businesses who have brands operating in China, or who are planning to enter the Chinese market(s), should capitalise on the opportunity to protect their brand by ensuring they are properly registered before someone snaps up their name. Sina Weibo is growing quickly and the microblogging platform has recently surpassed 200 million users.

How to secure your brand name

Sadly, Sina Weibo can be a little impenetrable for western eyes. The language barrier has rendered the sign-up process less than UK user-friendly. We thought it would be helpful to take you through the registration process, step-by-step so you can make sure your brand is protected, even if you have no plans to invest in the market quite yet.

Creating an account on Sina Weibo
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