Tag Archives: Social Media

Mobile-only Social Media

The trend has been there for several months – my close friends and I almost stopped posting personal updates on Facebook or Renren (Chinese version). Instead, we share them through “Moments” function in a mobile app called “Wechat”. It happened spontaneously and I’ve been wondered why. Here are my two cents after some examinations.

The fundamental difference between Facebook and Wechat is the mechanism of communication. Though Facebook has message function, which allows people to talk and share privately, it is a platform essentially. Wechat, on the other hand, is a SMS (short message service) at its core, similar to the idea of Whatsapp and Kik. In order to talk to each other, people have to find each other through mobile phone number or other account information, and mutually become friends. On top of sending messages, it allows group chat and has a space called “Moments” where people can share updates with their contacts. Thus, Facebook is a platform SNS with a channel function, while Wechat is a channel service with a platform capacity. How does these natures change our behavior? Why my friends and I chose more carefully what to show on Facebook comparing to those on Wechat “Moments”? Because with a more controlled and closer circle, Wechat is like “the home” social media, while Facebook could be “the city”. People feel safer and more relax to share personal ups and downs at home, and get used to pretend strong and beautiful among strangers. That’s just the nature of human being.

This leads me to think about all the other mobile-only social media applications, such as Path, Snapchat, the original Instegram, and Foursquare. Comparing to PC, mobile usage has the advantages of offering rich contextual information and real-time interactions. SNS big figures such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all made their aggressive inroads into mobile social media market. However, these mobile-only applications have been able to take up a share through leveraging their special niches that match well with the advantages of mobile usage.

What are the mobile-only social media applications that you are using daily? Why you prefer them over Facebook app? Is SoLoMo really the future of social media? Share your thoughts:)

Note: Some of these applications cannot fit with the definition of SNS as defined by boyd and Ellison (2007), so I used the term “social media” application rather than SNS.


Social Media as The Battlefield of Marketing

I was at the ExactTarget’s annual Connections conference on Tuesday. It was a great learning experience listening to the talks given by @kyleplacy and @scottdorsey on the state-of-the-art marketing technologies. I paid special attentions (selective attention maybe) to the role that social media plays in digital marketing. Here, I would like to reflect some take-aways from this conference. These points are by no means comprehensive enough to cover the topic of social media marketing, but rather elaborations on the notes I took at the conference.

Brand Co-creation

Brand co-creation is a marketing strategy that tries to achieve amplified branding impacts through engaging consumers. The emerging of social media changes the landscape of marketing, from segmented and passive consumer groups to connected and active consumer groups. This shift is similar to the idea of “context collapse” as discussed in class, as the connectivity and transparency of social media breaks the barriers between different social/consumer groups. By leveraging the power of social media, marketing can be much cheaper and more efficient for the companies and enjoyable for the consumers.

Does the following screenshots look somehow familiar? Are you also part of the co-creation process?

Toms #travellingTOMS compaign

Toms #travellingTOMS campaign

Shutterfly FB campaign events

TOMS encourages customers to post traveling photos with their TOMS shoes in the photos, and Shutterfly asks you to invite your friends to personalize and get a free photo book while you get a 50% discount. When you think about these events and many other out there, you will be amazed by how these events can bring companies thousands of clicks, transactions, brand awarenesses, and storytelling-style advertisements. All you need to pay is some free photo books and let you do the work for them. Also, use of the hashtags (#) makes the brands more recognizable, and makes it easier for companies to gather and analyze the data.

Personalized Experience:

Coming closely with brand co-creation is the personalized experience – individuals create unique experience interacting with the companies through the co-creation events facilitated by the companies. This helps to create stronger bonds between customers and the brands. Another perspective to see personalized experience is from the big-data point of view. By acquiring more and more information through social media, companies are able to deliver more personalized, and context-awared information to customers. Relevance driven by data is the key to create this kind of tailored experience. That is also what we talked about in the first week of class: “data is the internal Intel”. Data is a core value of social media.

Consumer Mobility

Based on a Gartner’s report, by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones. The change of market is not only manifested as the increased quantity of mobile devices, but also on consumer behaviors: based on another report from Gartner, worldwide mobile transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, with a 44% increase from 2012, with an expected 35% annual growth between 2012 and 2017. All this data is suggesting an important marketing as well as UX-design lesson: whenever a social-media campaign is planned, usage through mobile devices should be primarily addressed.

It was amazing to see how user/customer experience can be enhanced by these digital marketing approaches. This not only helped me to better understand the business behind social media but also provided me with a new perspective to look at UX.

3 Informative Social-Media-Related Blogs/Sites

As I am searching for good sites or blogs about social media, I found that a lot of them are concentrating on marketing area. These marketing-how topics are certainly trendy and handy as social media is becoming the battle for new marketings, especially for small business. However, I felt them too practical and narrowed for us to read in order to gain a bigger picture of social media. Thus, I gathered the following channels (or platforms!) besides Mashable and ReadWrite, hoping them be of help for us to get a better understanding of social media.

The sequence doesn’t imply any ranking intention.

1. Social Media Examiner 

Social Media Examiner is a very big and successful blog writing about marketing on social media – but its not only about marketing. They have good tips on how to better use SNSs such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, in the form of text blog or podcast. As we are really managing our online identity and personal brands, which is somewhat similar to small business (well, tiny business), some of these tips could be good reference for us to utilize our SNS accounts.

2. FastCompany 

Though FastCompany is not a site that dedicated to social media per se, it offers good source of information regarding pulse of companies that relates to social media. As nowadays a plethora of IT companies are involved with social media to some degree, you can always discover useful and real-time information about social-media strategies of those big companies, especially under its Technology section. I often found these posts resonated well with principles we read from the class while added more practical flavor to them. For example, I read a post yesterday analyzing why Facebook and Yahoo! were that interested in Foursquare, which vividly illustrated why “data is the Intel inside” in Web 2.0 age.


3. Soshable

Soshable is actually the kind of blogs that I originally wanted to see when I was seeking for social-media-related blogs. It is a space hosts posts from different bloggers, covering different topics related to social media, including tips for everyday life on SNSs, news on Web 2.0 tycoons such as Google and Twitter, or features of different SNSs. It’s not hard to find useful information for your own targets.

And it has a funny reason to choose such a font in their header section, which almost turned me away from it at the first sight…

Hope you enjoy these resources and share your discovery with me.