Sina Weibo, for example, allows users to add emoji within posts and embed images, audio and videos. Threaded comments under each post help users track conversations. On mobile, the photo-sharing app PaPa allows users to narrate images with short voice clips.
The decisive influence of social media on purchase decisions has spurred the introduction of ecommerce functions into social networks and social functions into ecommerce platforms. Consumers can now purchase products and share product recommendations directly from branded Sina Weibo accounts. On the ecommerce side, Taobao, China’s leading consumer-to-consumer retail platform, recently added social networking so consumers can share and curate their own shopping recommendations for friends and other Taobao users.
Beyond instant messaging, other companies are developing free, mobile alternatives to otherwise costly pastimes such as karaoke. One example is Changba (literally “Singing Bar” or “Singing Club”), a mobile-exclusive karaoke app that allows users to record their own karaoke renditions and share them on the major social media services, including Tencent QQ.
PN Connect provided a critical tool for attendees: a robust mobile scheduler. The mobile site mirrored the look and feel of the desktop site, while providing an experience tailored to mobile users. Expo attendees could search for specific types of events, browse topic categories, bring up a map of venues and activities near their current location, and save their favorites.
Users could also share events they’d be attending with a pre-populated Tweet button, using the #NYCxD hashtag. The scheduler integrated seamlessly with mobile devices, saving data to local memory and allowing users to add events to their calendars.
At the same time, they designed the scheduler to meet the needs of a very specific audience: mobile users in New York City. Integrating Google maps made it simple to find expo venues, while simple topic browsing navigation minimized mobile typing. Finally, by storing data on the user’s device, the team extended the tool’s range to areas without wireless service, such as the subway and elevators.
Each issue, we hear from a digital or social media program leader. This month we talk to PN Connect’s Mandy Griffiths, Social Media Strategist at Porter Novelli Melbourne.
What role do you play at Porter Novelli?
I work across the majority of our clients to integrate social elements, keep up to date with trends, and run training sessions. I have created and managed social campaigns for Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Rubbermaid, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Australian Dental Association, Bupa, Greyhound Racing Victoria, Corona, Libra, and NAB.
What developments on the Web are you most excited about right now?
Ghost, a blogging platform, was just successfully funded by Kickstarter, and I’m really excited to see how it turns out. It aims to reboot blogging using a combination of user-focused design and open-source code. Being a non-profit company, it doesn’t need to answer to a board, go public or sell itself to Yahoo to make money. I’ve also been really interested in the content coming out of Medium. I love how visual the web is becoming thanks to smartphones and simple/accessible apps, but sites like Medium are still presenting great text-driven content with no secondary agenda (so far).
What are the toughest marketing challenges you and your clients are facing today?
Cutting through the noise. So many brands and organizations have jumped on the social media bandwagon that it’s cluttered with top down and uninteresting content, causing people to switch off social marketing attempts altogether. Social media is transactional in that you need to build up credits with your audience before you cash in, but that goes beyond a token competition or discount. Getting $5 off something won’t necessarily be worth listening to brand shouting in the long term. Social profiles also need to be… social. If you allow your customers or fans to ask you a question or provide feedback, you have to be prepared to answer them.
What’s one thing you’re doing or seeing differently now compared to a year ago?
Organizations and government groups that have traditionally avoided social media have really started taking an interest. They were limited in communicating through social media due to the perceived risk and uncontrollable nature of the environment. However, the dangers of social media seem to be slowly outweighed by the opportunity and reach that social media provides.
Each month we select a client’s “Burning Question” and solicit answers from other clients and our senior staff. Something on your mind? Drop us a line at email@example.com and tell us about it.
Success begins with choosing the right tool for the job. Standard Google+ Hangouts and Google+ Hangouts On Air have different strengths and weaknesses, so the best approach depends on your event and objectives. Beyond that, the secret to a great Hangout is a bit of preparation.
Consider This: To host a panel in a Google+ Hangout, each participant and every observer must already be connected to the Hangout host via Google+ circles. Consequently, a standard Hangout isn’t a suitable platform for recruiting new followers or reaching out to viewers who aren’t already affiliated with your Google+ profile.
Consider This: There’s no RSVP process, and compared to a standard Hangout, you’ll feel a diminished sense of control when it comes to tracking your viewers. However, this is a great opportunity to create new connections and grow your follower base by providing an easily accessible and widely inclusive means of sharing your presentation. Beyond the actual event, a Hangout recording will be immediately available to additional viewers after the fact. This extends an invitation to observe rather than to participate.
1. Make sure you have a computer with ample processing power for your Hangout On Air, especially when using an external video camera and audio to record your live event. The more powerful the machine, the less likely your broadcast will experience lag time or freeze-up. Additionally, use a service like speedtest.net to ensure your Internet connection can provide sufficient upload/download bandwidth.
2. If you want to pre-promote your Hangout On Air, direct your audience to the brand’s YouTube Channel feed. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to connect your Google+ account to your YouTube account. Once the live broadcast begins, users will be able to easily find the link to the broadcast and tune in.
3. Schedule a few test runs of your Hangout On Air, especially when broadcasting from a conference or client event. Try to replicate the event you will be broadcasting, ideally from the same location where you will conduct your live broadcast. If using external video/audio, be sure to test how the broadcast responds to camera pans, so you can capture all angles of the event. A significant lag or delay in your broadcast could signal the need for higher processing power or faster Internet connection.
4. To start your test or broadcast, log into your brand’s Google account and visit plus.google.com/hangouts.
5. After ending your broadcast, the recording will automatically post to your brand’s YouTube page. You can edit the recording (or make it private) by using the YouTube video manager.
For more information about PN Connect, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
From the New York office, Chad Hyett brought us the stories and insights in the Social Networking Stats and Advertising Trends sections, with data provided by Amanda Wu, Stephanie Cooper, and James O’Malley. Chris Thilk in Chicago contributed the Noteworthy News stories and insights. Peony Tsang and Zegma Zeng in Beijing wrote our feature story on China’s native social networks, and Tom Harris in Raleigh wrote the NYCxDesign case study. Lauren Lovell and Chris Marsh in Austin contributed our guide to Google+ Hangouts On Air. Mandy Griffiths in Melbourne graciously took the Spotlight hot seat, and Moises Feintuch, Dawn Arteaga, and Chad Hyett answered our Burning Question.
Big thanks to Jennifer Laker, Peter Schiebel, Angelo Manzano, Jeremy Harrington, and Sean O’Shaughnessy from the Platforms team for providing design and development support and arming us with cool new publishing tools. Finally, thank you to Mary Gaulke, Josh Hallett, Dave Coustan, and Tom Harris for their editorial oversight and proofing.
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