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May 25th, 2012 by Tan Wei Shen under Commentary

Traditional Social Media vs Visual Media

Pinterest_Logo instagram

Is Pinterest and Instagram really the way forward for social media marketing?

Facebook yesterday announced the launch of its Facebook Camera app for iOS users, less than 2 months after the social network giant made headlines around the world with the news that it was acquiring Instagram, the popular photo sharing service, for a staggering 1 billion.

Besides the fact that the Facebook IPO isn’t reaching the valuation investors initially suggested, the Facebook Camera app – which by all accounts contains functions and filters which are mostly similar to Instagram – comes at a time when social media users remain highly enamoured by images, and the messages/brands/feelings they can convey. Wanna push your brand new product through social media using Facebook and Twitter? You’re more likely to enjoy greater success nowadays by snapping pictures of your product (artistically of course), choosing a nice filter, and posting it on Instagram and Pinterest. Congratulations, you’ve become a saavy visual social media marketeer!

Melodramatics aside, the rise of visual social media does pose a threat to the more traditional (you never thought you’d see the day when both of these words are used in the same space, did you?) social mediums, notably Facebook and Twitter. Already, Google+ has seen a decrease in activity since Pinterest started appearing on everyone’s social radar (report here). Sure, you can post and share photos and images on these services, but it’s not nearly the same thing. The main difference is, communities like Pinterest and Instagram were built from the ground up, with a focus on image sharing, not with the image added as an afterthought. Oddly enough, that proved to be more than enough.

So now that we know that Visual Social Media will probably be the Next Big Thing in every social media manager’s portfolio, what are some of the pitfalls we should avoid?

1) Don’t over-saturate your feed with branding

Ok, this seems like the very opposite of what you should be doing. What this basically means though, is that if your company already has a highly visible logo and brand (think Mcdonald’s golden arches for instance), the last thing you’d want to do, is to bombard your feed with more photos of those arches. A little goes a long way when it comes to images, and in this case, it’s often better to find meaningful images that will tie your brand and consumers together rather than go trigger happy with posting mundane images.

2) Don’t re-use content

Some brands make the mistake of sharing ALL their content across ALL their social media identities. One thing to note that since Instagram and Pinterest are mostly image sites, content should for the most part be different. If the same images are used across all your identities however, you’re not creating any intrinsic value for your consumers to follow all your social media identities. If a consumer could see the same photo on Facebook, why should he or she follow you on Instagram and Pinterest and be flooded by the same images when he checks in?

3) No press shots

Taking a photo that was included in a press release and uploading it on your Instagram or Pinterest profile (even if you add a filter, it REALLY doesn’t count) just smacks of laziness. Users follow brands on Instagram or Pinterest mainly because they hope to see photos or images that are less run-of-the-mill and which better reveal the inner workings of the brand or corporation. It could be just as innocent as inpromptu shots of employees preparing coffee in the morning, or the unpacking of products – shots like these are what create connections with followers.

4) Don’t ditch the community

If you start with these communities, attribute the same amount of time and effort you would to your Facebook and Twitter profiles as you would to your Instagram and Pinterest profiles. It’s really easy for followers to tell the sincere brands from the insincere ones – especially when the feeds stop coming.

May 18th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Tracking the Microsoft-Skype deal

A little more than a week ago, speculation about Microsoft’s plans to acquire skype began spreading all over the blogosphere. Once the deal was made official on May 10th, this speculation snowballed into frenzy – there was immense interest and activity online centred around this topic. Using our social media monitoring tool, we tracked all this activity for the past week to find out what people are saying and how they feel about this announcement.

Here’s a visual perspective of frequently appearing keywords.

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Click on the image for bigger picture

It is worth noting that keywords such as Baidu and China also came up as there is already more speculation about Microsoft’s next major acquisition – Baidu, the number one Search Engine in China, with 63% market share as of 2010. Other than that, there was also much talk about how skype was all set to acquire a Swedish start-up called MyWidz before the Microsoft buy out.

The reason why there is so much interest in the deal is because many of us use skype regularly; In fact, it’s so popular that “skype” is now a verb just like “google”. So, it’s no surprise that people are starting to wonder how this deal will affect their skyping experience from now on. Perhaps the most interesting angle to explore here is ‘how do people actually feel about this deal?’. We used the JamiQ sentiment detection tool to find out.

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Media types sentiment

November 25th, 2008 by Benjamin Koe under Technology

Semantic technology meets marketing

Semantic technology builds on meaning, not keywords. And so it doesn’t matter if your followers say, “The new Batman movie is going to be awesome” or “You have to see the ‘Dark Knight’ trailer”; semantic buzz tools will tie the conversation together.

Sentiment analysis is an increasingly popular tool in the marketer toolbox. And its next generation will look at the entirety of a comment or an article, from whom it came and to whom it was directed. It will use natural language processing and analysis of meaningful relationships to distinguish the “good” comments from “bad.”

I admire the insights given by Marta Strickland in her recent article in AdAge on what the semantic web can do for marketers.

But as a practitioner in this emerging field, there are significant limitations to this utopia which I’m sure we are all trying to overcome at this very moment:

  1. Only Google comes close to the complete social media universe. Seriously, I’ve tried many social media monitoring services with laughable results. If your customers are being influenced by what they find on Google, tracking and understanding this influence should require us to look at the same universe.
  2. Multi-lingual natural language processing. English is great, but the largest internet user base is still China and the most connected cities in the world are Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; and Tokyo, Japan.
  3. A.I. that goes beyond the Turing test. We’re not just asking computers to mimic a human in conversation, but to think, understand, and make recommendations like one.

Well, that’s the whole fun of taking on this emerging technology and I’m glad to be in the mix of what they’re calling “Web 3.0″.

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