What’s Hot in Social Media: April 2012

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It’s the end of April which can mean only one thing…our monthly round-up of what’s been causing a stir in the world of social media.

Movers and shakers

A couple of the giants of digital made some interesting moves in April, with Facebook buying Instagram for a sweet $1 billion and Google turning up the heat in the cloud wars with the launch of Google Drive.

April also saw blogging platform Tumblr release access to a real-time fire hose in collaboration with Gnip. Founded in 2007, Tumblr is particularly popular in the fashion and arts industries and now has about 46.2 million blogs. Access to the firehose – which is still currently exclusive to Gnip – will include all of Tumblr’s public data, which will mean access to analytics and brand monitoring opportunities.

Retail - trying on clothes virtually

Meanwhile, whilst we’re on the topic of fashion - John Lewis has been experimenting with virtual mirrors at its flagship store on Oxford street. Users can ‘try on’ outfits from a range of more than 500 garments without having to get changed. These can then be added to a virtual collection and shared via Twitter or Facebook.

Innovative Facebook marketing

Elsewhere on the internet, Volkswagen created a flipbook effect in a Facebook gallery for their Amarok. With over 200 photos to click through, this was a really innovative use of Facebook functionality - which only costs as much as the photos.

What have I missed? If you’ve seen anything hot this month, please do share it below!

What’s hot in social media: March 2012

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From SXSW to new apps on the scene, this month has seen another big month for social media. Let’s take a look at our what’s hot in social media round-up for March 2012…

Charity and social media

The beginning of March saw a host of charities using International Women’s Day on 8th as an opportunity to do something interesting in social. One of the most striking examples was Bollock’s to Poverty’s Facebook app which turns your timeline into that of an oppressed 1950’s housewife to highlight gender inequality issues.

Another charitable issue which came to light in March was the hotly debated Kony 2012 video from Invisible Children. If you’re one of the last people on earth not to watch it (over 86 million people have watched it on Youtube) the video is about raising public awareness of Joseph Kony, who is head of guerrilla group, the LRA in Uganda. Despite being a complex issue, this campaign has simply mushroomed in a way which other marketers could only dream of for their brands.

Social entertainment

On a lighter note, March saw the explosion of ‘Draw Something’, the app ‘du jour’. With a staggering 35 million downloads and a billion drawings a week, this Pictionary-style app has been making hundreds of thousands of pounds from in-app adverts per day. No surprise then, that social gaming powerhouse Zynga has just bought OMGPOP, the creators behind ‘Draw Something’ for a cool £113 million.

Meanwhile, social TV has been gaining traction in the UK with Social TV app Zeebox seeing a strong increase in user numbers following a TV advertising campaign, supported by BSkyB’s recent investment in the company.

Pinterest

This month the buzz around Pinterest has continued. British airline BMI has launched what could be Pinterest’s first lottery by encouraging fans to re-pin images from popular holiday destinations for the chance to win free flights. Pinterest itself has been suffering the common annoyances that come with popularity – clones and spammers. Take a look at this site for example – look familiar at all?

Finally, this month sees the launch of Facebook’s full screen photo viewer and the changeover for brands from pages to timeline is anticipated tomorrow. Are you ready?

What’s hot in social media – February 2012 round up

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February was a busy month in social media: Pinterest rocketed in popularity so much that some are (wrongly) calling it “the next Facebook”, while Facebook itself announced the roll-out of Timeline for brand pages. Here’s a few other things that have caught our eye this month, which you may have missed:

Twitter sentiment analysis heats up

  • Datasift historic tweetsTwitter and UK based data technology company Datasift came to an agreement to release tweets going back two years. Until now, marketers have only been allowed to see tweets from up to 30 days ago. Datasift will be taking in about 250 million tweets every 24 hours and analysing them for sentiment, location and influence. The effect of this arrangement to access the Twitter archive has led to concerns about privacy, as well as conjecture that it could be a step towards being able to predict future events.
  • And speaking of predicting the future, HP and Organic took advantage of this month’s Oscars to play with some real time sentiment analysis. Similar to XFactorTracker from Professor Noreena Hertz, The Awards Meter used language analysis to monitor Twitter during the run up to the Oscars and ranked nominees according to popular or negative opinion on Twitter. At FreshNetworks we believe that you can’t necessarily take sentiment analysis at face value - automated tools need deeper analysis and understanding of the tool’s inherent biases to really dig in for insights.  However, simple tools like the Awards Meter do hint at how useful it can be to look at social media for viewing overall trends and, and are a great way to demonstrate the technology.

Social influencers are the new darlings of social media

  • PeerIndex, the social influence company has released a service targeted towards people who are ranked highly in specific subjects to offer them related discounts. Essentially a free sampling service, ‘PeerPerks’ aims to differentiate itself by ensuring that free samples only go to people who are really influencers in their product fields – with the aim being that if they then talk about the products in their social circles, the uptake will be much greater. As Ian Carrington, mobile sales director at Google UK said during Social Media Week, consumers are 300% more likely to buy something when it is recommended by a friend, so it will be interesting to see whether PeerPerks takes off.
  • Boo Facebook's most influential dogAnd as we’re involved with Park Bench, a community for dog owners, we like to keep a handle on the non-human influencers in social media too – and with almost 3.5 million fans, Boo is possibly the most famous dog on the planet. Interestingly, it looks like even he is now endorsing products in social media with the recent mention on his Facebook page of a new American Apparel hoodie. Will other brands be jumping on the Boo bandwagon?

What’s hot in social media - January 2012 round up

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With seven in ten brands saying they plan to increase their presence across social media in 2012 (according to a recent survey by Awareness) we thought it would be a good idea to take a regular look at the current social media landscape.

So here’s a quick run down of  what we think has been hot in social media this January:

1. Farfetch.com - the future of social retail?

2012 looks set to be the year of the social online retailer. Luxury retailer farfetch.com announced that it saw a 73% rise in traffic from Facebook in the second half of 2011 and it recently raised a second round of funding to the tune of $18m.

And it’s not just luxury online retailers who are seeing the value of social. As part of its strategy to encourage social shopping, fab.com launched its live feed for members to easily check out what others are buying, liking, tweeting and sharing – all in real time.

Just 7 months since launching, fab.com already has 1.4m members – over half of which have joined as a result of social sharing, so it clearly makes business sense to encourage this channel.

2. KLM and Scandinavian Airlines encourage social flying

Following on from their popular ‘Surprise’ campaign, KLM are getting even more social by launching their ‘Meet and Seat’ campaign. The idea is that when customers book flights, they have the option of creating a public profile and then choosing who they sit next to on the plane. Romantic stuff or creepy as hell? You decide.

Scandinavian Airlines has also got in on the act by encouraging members to use their air miles by booking flights together. Their ‘Couple up, to buckle up’ campaign shared QR codes with members who had to put their phones together in order to access a unique 2 for 1 booking code.

3. Soundcloud gives Instagram a personal touch

It looks like sound hosting just got interesting with the launch of Soundcloud’s new slideshow app, ‘Story Wheel’,this month. The idea behind ‘Story Wheel’ is that members can look through their Instagram photos and record an audio description to go with them. The effect is an old-school slide-show with a personal soundtrack - you can see the founders of Soundcloud’s own version here.

Audio-hosting platform Soundcloud has grown by about 1 million members in the last couple of months and is now fully integrated with Facebook. This month, it reached a milestone of 10 million users, so diversifying their offering is a smart move to show that sound can make images that bit more personal.

With such a large audience behind them, perhaps now may be the time for brands to think about how they can use audio-hosting as part of their social media strategy.