How Social Are We Really?

Sep 01 2014

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Social media is booming! The new wild world of communications and social interactionsPeople spend 6.35 hours per month on Facebook; almost half of all Twitter users tweet at least once a day; there are more than 20 billion images shared on Instagram; more than two users sign up on LinkedIn every second; 100 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube per minute… No surprise social media is now the top activity on the Internet, with 60% of that time spent on mobile devices not desktops computers.

But how social are we really?

And by that I don’t mean how active we are on social media, but how is it that we use our social skills to facilitate interaction and build relationships with others?

As an avid social media user, I firmly believe that all these new channels have allowed us to broaden our palette of ways to communicate. They have given us more opportunities to connect with individuals from all over the world and exchange information, ideas and knowledge.

On the other hand, one could argue that we might be losing our sense for face-to-face interactions.

No matter how much technology advances (for example, the use of sound and video, or Google Glass, wearable technology, smart watches and other geeky stuff), there is one element that is still difficult to transmit or sense to a full extent via the Web.

That element is emotion. Or the touch of all our five senses. Continue Reading »

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Pinterest: A Paid Search Engine, not a Social Network?

Aug 25 2014

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“Just pin and they will come”, Pay to play social media advertisingsaid no communications or social media professional ever. When it comes to Pinterest – 70-million-user strong online visual bookmarks platform – it requires a lot more than just pinning nice images and waiting for the repins, likes and followers to pile up. A successful Pinterest account for business requires a carefully crafted strategy that not only has visual storytelling at its core, but also advertising as well as search engine optimisation (or as I call it Pinterest optimisation) too. You may wonder, “What does advertising and SEO have to do with a visual social network?” Read on to find out.

As with any comms and social media strategy, one of the most important initial steps is truly knowing your audience and understanding what makes it tick specifically on the platform in question.

As Pinterest itself puts it, the network allows people to discover ideas for any project or interest, hand-picked by other people (or brands) they like. Boards serve as to-do and wish lists or as a “walk down memory lane” of past experiences.

Of course, you always need to start with the very basics that include demographics such as age or sex as well interests. In the case of Pinterest, these characteristics are an 84% female user base among four top pinning categories: Food & Drink, DIY & crafts, Home Decor and Holidays & Events.

But what about deeper behavioral characteristics? After all, they are the ones that determine consumer buying habits. Continue Reading »

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Why not only Corporate, but also Individual Choices are Key for a Sustainable Future

Aug 18 2014

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Did you know that countless fruits Why individual choices matter for sustainabilityand vegetables are needlessly thrown away every day by mass producers, yet the only thing wrong with them is that because they are disfigured, ugly or misshapen they are deemed unworthy and out of the norm? In reality, they are just as delicious and just as good for you as the “pretty”, perfectly shaped ones. This is why French supermarket company Intermarché decided to do something about it. They launched a film, print, poster and radio campaign called the Inglorious Fruits&Vegetables, promoting the beauty of not-so-perfect fruits and veggies and so fighting food waste.

French consumers can not only enjoy healthy, fresh foods, but also save money as the previously deemed unfit for consumption fruits and veggies are offered at 30% less. The French supermarket chain buys the foods from farmers who would usually throw them away. This way the company also supports local production.

The overall aim of the campaign was to send an important message: it’s not what fruits and veggies look like, but how they taste that matters – disfigured, hideous or ugly fruits and veggies are just as delicious and should not be tossed simply because of their “looks”. Continue Reading »

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Masters of Storytelling: The Brands that Excel at it

Aug 11 2014

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Every brand has a story to tell, Brand storytelling is keybut not every brand has mastered the art of telling its story in a way that is meaningful, attention-grabbing and long-lasting. Just as people, some brands have a “way with words” – they are natural storytellers – while others find it a little bit more challenging and need to acquire the relevant skills first. Learning from the best in class is one step ahead at becoming a masterful storyteller.

But which are those brands that we can learn from? Who are the masters of storytelling? What do they stand for and what is their purpose?

That’s what a recent study by Aesop tried to find out. It surveyed 2,000 consumers in the UK, asking them to rate companies against nine key storytelling elements:

  • unique character/personality
  • clear opinion
  • vision/purpose
  • intrigue (that urges us to learn more about them)
  • credibility
  • unique world
  • shareable, worthy to talk about content
  • entertainment
  • memorability

The combined ranking result is enlightening: Continue Reading »

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Generation Z: The Natural Sustainability Generation

Aug 04 2014

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Global warming, extreme Generation Z as future sustainability leadersweather events, resource scarcity, food and water crisis, instability of financial institutions – these are all interconnected global risks that we are facing today and that require us to act as fast as possible as they have major systematic impacts. But do you ever wonder who is going to solve these issues? Is it governments? Or companies? Or non-profits? Or regular people? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer, but here’s an interesting suggestion – it might be a whole generation.

Meet Generation Z – the bold rebels with the cause to save the world.

Gen Zers are the ones born after the mid 1990s. They now account for more than a quarter of the world’s population, with that number rising steadily.

In many ways, Gen Zers are the opposites or extreme versions of Millennials, aka Generation Y – the previous generation.

In an article for Forbes Emily Anatole says that while Generation Y are optimistic, Generation Z are realistic, resilient and pragmatic. They know how scary, volatile and complex the world can be as they have grown up post 9/11 during a serious recession; they have seen or experienced poverty and violence and they have witnessed their parents and older siblings struggle.

Inc calls Generation Z “humble, informed, optimistic, and hugely entrepreneurial.” It even goes on to say that this is the most entrepreneurial generation of all, largely due to the fact that they have been surrounded by DIY education and crowdsouncing, made possible by the world of digital and social media. Continue Reading »

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How to Choose the Right Social Networks

Jul 28 2014

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, How to choose the right social media platformsYouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and about a hundred more social networking sites… The choice is overwhelming and expanding by the day. Smart marketers and communications professionals know that establishing a social presence on the right platforms is crucial to successful social media that adds real value for business. But how do you make that choice? How do you determine the right social networks for your business or client?

The first step towards deciding which network to be active on is defining your target group – that’s Marketing 101. So, who is it that buys from you? Who is it that are you doing business with?

Once you’ve defined your audience, you need to get to know it – what is it that your customers like, do, talk about, where do they congregate online, how often, for what purposes? How do they make purchase decisions? To what extent are those decisions influenced by what people are saying, liking, sharing on social networks and on which platform exactly?  Continue Reading »

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Social Media for PR – the Insights in one Place

Jul 21 2014

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Every day I come across an Findings-From-The-Top-Social-Media-Research-Studies-for-PRinteresting study and I want to dive into it to learn more about the research findings and then write a blog post with the key takeaways and my views. Unfortunately, I do need to sleep too. Indeed, from a professional’s perspective it’s hard to keep up with the tons of valuable research studies and analyses that are being released all the time. Information overload is our reality…

This is why when I saw the following infographic from the Institute for Public Relations I thought “Wow, this is spot on!” The infographic summarises the latest key issues and trends from the industry’s top social media studies – one infographic, many studies.

This is something I would’ve found very useful when I was doing my research for my dissertation.

I would’ve had an overview of the top social media for PR studies in one place as a great reference for me to dig deeper in each study if I wanted to. Just knowing that those studies existed would’ve saved me a lot of time trying various keywords on Google search and bouncing from website to website for days to find the relevant and trustworthy sources. Continue Reading »

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