10 million fans go Gaga for Gaga

You’ve probably read that Lady Gaga became the first living person to go past 10 million fans on Facebook, dethroning Barrack Obama and the ever colourful Britney Spears as the most fanned person on the network. So what is the key to such success for Lady Gaga?

First off, if you look at the Facebook page on it’s own, the first thing that strikes you is how developed the page is. It offers fans a complete experience that goes beyond that of a standard website to do what only social networks can do – engage.  There’s a complete tour listing, track listing and even an e-commerce section. In addition, this is layered with regular engagement by Lady Gaga. For example, when she reached the 10 million mark on Facebook, she posted “Thank u so much little monsters for following me on Facebook! 10 million friends of mine who are now connected to each other.” In addition, there are a number of videos aimed directly at her fans in the social space.

But it’s not just Facebook that makes her such a force in the social world, it’s the fact that she cleverly weaves together the different platforms available to her to tell her story.  On Twitter she has over 4,790,900 follows, on YouTube she has 313823 subscribers and around 126,922,521 video views. Underpinning all of this is the fact that she’s probably one of the hardest working celebrities from a global perspective, she’s not just US-centric, she has a far wider appeal.

She has cleverly used social media to tell her “brand” story as she wants it told, while underpinning this with countless PR and promotional efforts in individual markets. What this means is that while she might not physically be in your country, she’s never far away. While she might not be looking back at you from the cover of a magazine, she’s at the top of your Facebook news feed. What she’s developed is a continuous brand story that she (and not the mainstream media) owns in order to constantly stay relevant to her fans and always be top of mind. If I may say so, genius…..

Will Brazil 2014 be all about the mobile?

For me, the World Cup is by far and away the premier sporting event in the world. It’s a sort of global carnival with local charm and flavour, featuring the world’s best players. So, it’s easy to see why it represents a huge marketing opportunity for brands. An interesting thing about World Cup marketing campaigns is that act as a snapshot to consumer media consumption.

Take Germany 2006, social media and social networking was still yet to envelop the masses. Sure, we had YouTube, but Facebook was not the huge entity it is today and I think Twitter had just launched. So, naturally, campaigns were more skewed towards traditional media. Fast forward to 2010 and social media and networks has played a very large part in many brand marketing campaigns, but I will say not as much as I thought it would. For example, I thought more would be made of Twitter and geo-location networks like FourSquare and Gowalla. Which brings me to the point of the post – will Brazil 2014 be all about the mobile?

It would seem the be next big opportunity. We’re spending more and more time on our mobile devices and they increase in sophistication almost on a monthly basis. Networks such as Twitter were born with mobile in mind, but it has to an extent migrated onto desktop-bound machines. However, the true power of Twitter lives in the mobile phone as it allows instant sharing. And from that, we move to geo-loaction networks like FourSquare and Gowalla which are increasing in popularity at a rapid rate. Not only is there a huge opportunity via social networks, but also through app development and other forms of mobile marketing, such as live streaming – imagine having goal-replays sent to your phone while you’re at the stadium.

My opinion is that Brazil 2014 will be the biggest social media World Cup ever and we’ll see major brands invest heavily in mobile campaigns as a way of getting to the consumer.  Those that want to come out on top will figure out two things: 1) How do I get into the match experience with the consumer, 2) How do I get them closer to what they want, so that I become an integral part of that experience

Celebrities, Forbes cares if you’re social

If you were checking out the Forbes annual most powerful celebrities list, you may have noticed an additional ranking criteria – social. Other ranking factors include things like pay, TV/radio rank, press rank and web rank. According to Forbes, the move comes predominantly as a result of the growth of Facebook and Twitter and not necessarily as a result of their wider social footprint.

While this may look a little gimmicky on the surface, there’s actually much more to this than just who’s the most popular on Facebook and Twitter. From a brand perspective, rankings like this could enable you to make smarter decisions when looking to sign-up brand ambassadors for social media campaigns. After all, what’s the point of signing-up the top ranking celebrity from a TV/radio perspective when you’re looking to deploy a social media campaign heavily focused on Twitter.

In addition, we could also start and see social media take on much more significant role within the negotiations between brands and celebrities. For example, the number and frequency of tweets, how branded they are, what type of content is to be shared, will it be purely 1-way, or are there expectations around engagement. Of course, with all these elements there comes a price……if you’re a top 10 social media ranking celebrity, that price suddenly becomes easier for you to negotiate.

Coca-Cola scores big with World Cup tweets

Only the second company to purchase a Promoted Tweet advertising package, Coca-Cola has reported seeing some “phenomenal” results, securing around 85 million views within the first day of their World Cup campaign. Whilst they haven’t revealed how much the entire package costs, it has been hinted that it’s not been that expensive compared to other types of online advertising.

Since its launch in April, there have been only two companies run Promoted Tweets advertising packages, with Pixar being the first with a campaign for Toy Story 3.  Early reports on performance are very good with engagement rates up at around 6 per cent, which is fairly impressive stuff in the world of online advertising.

I think a lot of people were a little unsure about this when it was first launched, but the early signs are looking very positive. Brands with a passion for cutting-edge techniques and those that are brave enough to be in that early adopter pool should seriously consider getting involved. However, in just the same way that brands saw so much success in the early days of Facebook’s branded platform, they’ll need to think about the whole package and produce a brand story that can move fluidly between owned, bought and earned.

Are Promoted Trends on the way?

It wasn’t so long ago that we all welcomed the news around Promoted Tweets, and now after a lot of waiting, it seems that we might be getting another bit of news on the Twitter brand platform. According to a few sources, Twitter is considering selling trending topics as ad space. Apparently, Twitter is even having preliminary conversations with existing partners about this potentially new ad stream for them.

According to the Mashable post on it,  “Promoted trends” would let advertising partners create and sponsor a trending term to appear alongside organic terms for a set period of time. Should a user then click on the Promoted trend, they would be redirected to the Twitter search page with the same advertiser’s Promoted Tweet featured at the top.

There’s a couple of interesting points to consider here if this is in fact going to launch and it will function as detailed above. The first is the eyeballs the trending topics actually get – I for one use TweetDeck and don’t actually look at the trending topics that much and tend to rely on watching what’s happening in my own circle. Second is the fact that for a topic to trend, it must generate a lot of mentions – having a “promoted trend” surely doesn’t make sense as it isn’t a “trend” but an ad unit that looks like a trend. Third, the mechanic above drives further traffic to the search page – Twitter is probably one of the only networks where the majority of links drive you to other pages, in this case and the case of the promoted Tweets, they are both focusing on the Twitter Search page.

It’s going to be very interesting watching the Twitter brand platform develop. I for one welcome any move to make the network more brand friendly, but you can’t help but ask the question – why are you focusing on the Twitter search page and not applications, specifically mobile-based applications where many see the big money moving forward?

Blippy – let’s take a look in your shopping bag

Blippy, if you haven’t experienced it yet, it a social network entirely based on your shopping habits. Sounds like a shopaholics dream, doesn’t it. It’s part of an explosion of social networks that track, catalogue and share different aspects of your day-to-day life. Blippy links your online shopping with a social networking back-end so that you can share information about the things you’ve bought online.

From memory, you can link iTunes, eBay, PayPal and a host of other options. I wasn’t too sure at first, but once I started using it I started to see the benefits. For example, I rented a movie from iTunes on Saturday and this transaction appeared on my Blippy feed and also on my Facebook and Twitter feed (which I’d linked) and within a few minutes a number of friends had commented on it. Now, I enjoyed the movie, so I can actually go back and rate it – letting my friends know what I thought and thus creating user-generated reviews based on my own shopping habits within a network of friends. Powerful stuff

FourSquared away

I saw a very interesting stat the other day that FourSquare had added 100,oo0 users in a couple of weeks – phenomenal. I’ve been using FourSquare for a while ow, but on and off. What I have noticed over the past few weeks is that the type of people joining has moved past the social media mob to my more mainstream friends. Added to this, I recently approached FourSquare to see what the brand opportunities were with the them and to my great surprise, a marketing pack was promoting sent back detailing a number of different opportunities. So, I started to think – is FourSquare actually going to be the next big thing and will it be able to do what Twitter hasn’t done so far, partner with brands.

This has made me get more involved with FourSquare as a user and I have to say, I am now addicted. The combination of geo-location, updates and more importantly points and rewards make it a killer network. If these guys add pictures and video it’s a game changer. On the back of that, you can easily see how something like FourSquare could branch out into the fabled augmented reality network we’re all dying to see. In the meantime – be there, or be FourSquare.

Is it all about you, or me?

New research from Rutgers suggestions that people that use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be broken down into two groups of people – “Meformers” and “Informers”. What this essentially means is “Meformers” are all about letting the wider word and their circle of friends now what’s going on with them, while the “Informers” are more focused on sharing interesting information.

Now, I am going to position myself in the “Informer” box (of course you are, I hear you say) because I don’t lead a very interesting life to be honest, in fact my 3 year-old daughter gets up to more interesting things than me – the other day she made a Ginger bread man mask at pre-school and got a sticker for doing something good…….I want a sticker as well. Back to the topic, most people actually fit into the “Meformer” section, representing around 80 per cent of the survey, leaving on 20 per cent of us representing the “Informers” camp.

From a communications point of view, we should be gearing our approach towards helping “meformers” with their own personal news feed – providing them with material, content and news to share. In addition, brands should also try (as much as possible) to fit into the “Informers” camp, but again focus on providing information that the “Meformers” can reshape and make personal. 

A few other interesting stats from the report

  • Informers have more friends and followers on Twitter than meformers (Informers had a median 131 friends and 112 followers compare to meformers median figures of 61 friends and 43 followers.)
  • Females were more likely to post “me now” messages than males. (Forty-five percent of females’ messages were “me now” compared to 37 percent of males’.)
  • Posts from mobile devices were more likely to be “me now” messages than posts from non-mobile applications. (Fifty-one percent of mobile-posted messages were “me now” compared to 37 percent of non-mobile messages.)
  • Informers mention others in their messages more often

Spotlight on….Tweetalondoncab

In the land of social media there’s practically an idea a minute, some good, some bad, some crazy and some that are genius. The genius ideas usually speak to our personal and cultural situations, which is why Tweet a London Cab is genius.

Now, having lived in Australia for 4 years and also experienced the taxis in countries around the world, I can tell you that the black cabs of London are second to none. So, when you add a layer of social media over the top of that impeccable service, you’re bringing a British institution bang up to date. 

Essentially, the team at Tweet a London Cab offer a service for people to DM their feed with their location, destination and time of pick-up so that drivers in the area can arrange to pick you up via Twitter.  Sure, there is a novelty factor to it, but it’s also quite cleverly shifting engagement to more popular, modern means – in this case Twitter

I’m not entirely sure of the business model behind it, but it is still early days for them so I guess it’s watch this space for now….Who knows, it could all be an elaborate publicity hoax. If only then operated in Hertfordshire…..

Will you Squidoo in public?

Twitter is a wonderful place, sure there are a load of mundane and mindless comments, but you also get to hear about the cool new things happening in your industry and the resulting conversation this causes. Last week, I saw the news break that Squidoo would be launching a programme called Brand in public, which is essentially brand hubpages or “lenses” that aggregate conversations taking place around that brand. Now, in addition to that (and the bit that is causing all the conversation) is the fact that they will be looking to charge brands $400 a month for the right to add to them and ultimately develop them. 

I have to admit, at first I was one of those people that reacted less than favourably to this – you’re effectively charging a brand for the right to reply, aren’t you? Then, after I thought it through I actually think it could be a good thing for the PR industry. This essentially offers a snap shot of the type of conversations taking place around a brand, ultimately allowing us to better do our job. 

We already have monitoring tools like Radian6 that help us identify the conversations we want to influence and they can also alert us to potential issues before they develop. Squidoo could actually become both a reason and a proof point for Digital PR. For example, it’s one thing aggregating conversations using third party tools, but if it’s right there in one place on the web for a brand to see, the decision to act becomes a bit of a no-brainer. So, what does PR do? We  help brands engage with these conversations in order to shape the Squidoo page – not pay to control it. So, if PR is doing it’s job, that Squidoo page should look pretty good. For more on this, TechCrunch posted a pretty good overview that you can find here