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Facebook Place Tips: check-in benefits without checking in

Facebook just released a new feature for mobile called Place Tips that has a very familiar ring to it.

You stop for lunch at a popular restaurant near your work and suddenly a notification pops on the top of your Facebook mobile news feed. Tap and you get information about the very restaurant you’re sitting in. Dig deeper and Facebook will serve up all the reviews, photos and videos your friends have posted about the location so you’ll know to avoid the Clam Chowder and go with the Cranberry Walnut Salad instead.

Could be a lifesaver.

In order to serve up this feast of relevant info, Facebook has to first determine your location and that’s going to rile some people up. But there’s no need to worry. Place Tips is not a check-in service. Your location is not going to post to Facebook if you access the offered data. But you can bet that Facebook is going to use your location data for other purposes such as local advertising. And why not? If they know where you are, doesn’t it make sense to offer you a coupon for $5 off your lunch or a free appetizer with dinner?

Let’s look at this from the flip side; the person getting the information is getting a benefit from the service. What about the people whose accounts are being accessed to serve up the data. Is that something to worry about? I post about my trip to Universal Studios last month and you’re handed my post when you visit this week? For anyone trying to generate more views on their content, this feature could deliver a big audience – except for one thing – it looks like it only works between friends, so unless you have a ton of followers it’s not going to help at all.

There is one exception; in addition to posts from friends, Facebook Place Tips will also serve up posts from the businesses’ Facebook Page as well as scheduled events and other Page info.

In other words, Facebook Place Tips gives you all the benefits of Foursquare without having to actually check-in to a place in the first place.



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Do Lower Prices Lead to More Sales?

Let’s say you’re choosing between three photography courses covering similar topics.

The prices are stacked like this:

  • $200
  • $250
  • $2,000

What’s going through your mind right now?

Curiosity floods your brain. Even if you’re not sure you can afford the $2,000 course, you want to know why it’s so expensive, compared to the other photography courses.

If we were truly happy with lower prices, we would simply snap up the $200 workshop, right? We wouldn’t so much as take a glance at the rest.

But that’s not how we’re built as human beings.

Many years ago, when I consulted with a company that sold beds in a store, we’d take customers around the store. We’d show them beds that cost $1,500, $2,000, and $4,000. And then we’d ask them if they were curious about the bed that cost $4,000.

You bet they were. You would be, and so would I — we’d all be curious about the features and benefits that caused an increase of 100 percent (or more) in the price. 

Price decisions are made in a vacuum or by comparison

Lower prices, alone, don’t produce more sales. We’re clear on that idea, aren’t we?

And that’s because clients make price decisions either in a vacuum or by comparison.

To start, let’s look at making price decisions in a vacuum.

Say you decide to buy a bottle of Ardbeg (yup, it’s a really nice, single-malt whisky). But wait — the price of a single bottle of 2009 Ardbeg Supernova is $550.

You aren’t asking why at this point in time, because you’re shocked out of your mind. You have nothing to compare it with, so you’re working in a vacuum. 

The same vacuum concept happens when you buy a product, service, or course, as well.

The article-writing course at Psychotactics costs almost $3,000. Is it worth $3,000? You don’t know, do you? You’re working in a vacuum.

Sure, you can see testimonials of all the clients who’ve taken the course before. If you read the sales page, the course sounds incredibly detailed.

When you pore over the 70-page prospectus, the course seems to satisfy everything you’re looking to learn about article writing. And yet, we sold that course just four years ago for $1,500. 

So would you have a greater number of clients buying the course at $1,500?

Theoretically speaking, yes. But then why not reduce your prices to $750? Or even $350? Or better still, $29? Would you have greater sales of the course then?

You see what’s happening here, don’t you? As the price go down, your desire for the course is plummeting just as quickly. And that’s because you’re no longer working in a vacuum. You’re working on comparison.

You’re comparing the original price of $3,000 with every other price. And you’d compare the price of the $550 Ardbeg Supernova with every other Ardbeg, until you settled on the lowest price, which would be $60 or so.

And at this point in time, if you were still keen, you’d might even end up spending more than $60 on a bottle. You’d probably feel comfortable spending at least $70 or $80, for no reason at all. 

But there is a reason — and it’s called comparison.

Two distinct buying phases

When you buy anything, you’re almost always going through two distinct phases. The first phase is when you consider prices in a vacuum. You’ve been told to buy a bottle of really good whisky for a friend, but you have no clue where to start.

With all those brands staring at you, you simply pick a nice-looking bottle that is high-priced enough not to be cheap.

When searching for a course on article writing, on the other hand, you want to invest in a course that isn’t just an information dump — you want lessons that actually help strengthen your skills

Is $1,500 too high? Or is $3,000 just right? And what if the course is $5,000 or $10,000 instead?

But once we get to the higher numbers, we’re no longer working in a vacuum. We’re now comparing the benefits. And while the comparison is often between several brands or companies, price decisions based on comparison can often happen within the very same brand or company.

At some point, you compare the $60 Ardbeg with the $550 bottle — and everything in between. Then it dawns on us that the least expensive option we have, a $60 bottle, is still quite expensive — but now it seems cheap.

The lower price helps make the sale, but only in comparison. 

What about pricing on Amazon or iTunes?

Let’s say you’re going to sell a book on Amazon or iTunes. Would you want to sell it at a low price?

Of course you would, because on Amazon a similar product is also hovering nearby for a low price.

When your Kindle book is $35, it’s not cheap at all. You’re asking a potential customer to take a chance on a book that is priced roughly 350 percent higher than most other Kindle books.

When you’re on Amazon or iTunes, you’re competing in a completely different playing field. On those sites, they set the rules and comparison structure.

On your site, the client is working in a vacuum again.

If you were to sell the same product — without changing it at all — exclusively on your own site, there aren’t similar books to compare it with.

A $35 book on your own site seems reasonably priced, especially if there are several other products that are both lower and higher (yes, the presence of the lower price matters, too). 

We see this phenomenon no matter where we go. If you bought a property in Auckland, New Zealand in 2000, the price was about $300,000. If you bought the same house in 2005, that price hovered around $600,000.

Today, that very same house sells for over $1.5 million. There’s no increased value in the house, is there?

If anything, the fittings and fixtures have depreciated, not appreciated. And yet, when you buy the house, there are factors to compare. 

A house is more or less expensive based on what’s selling around it at a certain point in time, among other economic factors. 

An article-writing course that’s $3,000 may seem inexpensive if you know that its price tag is headed up to $5,000. A bottle of $60 Ardbeg seems a bit stingy when you realize it’s at the bottom of the whisky heap. 

So, how should you price your products?

If you sell products on your own site, you can stop reducing your prices, unless you have to for a specific reason.

If you’re competing in a marketplace where prices are determined — such as Amazon or iTunes — then you will have to play within their rules.

However, if you have several products or versions of the products, then the client can move from comparing your price to comparing prices among your different products.

For example, if you buy a Wacom drawing tablet, you can choose from Bamboo, which is less expensive, to Cintiq, which is top-of-the-line and very expensive.

Even in a very competitive market, you want to create a situation where clients have stopped considering the competition and are now choosing from your range of products, services, or courses.

And if you’re selling something that’s exclusively sold on your site or shop, then there’s still a reason for creating a comparison structure.

A client will look around and decide on a purchase based on the various prices you put on your site — even if you’re comparing apples to oranges.

For example, if you were to sell a product on “the best ways to use testimonials” and a product on “networking to attract clients,” they aren’t particularly similar. Yet, the price of one product influences the price of the other product. 

And even if a client buys the lower-priced product, they may move up the price ladder in the future, depending on your ability to deliver the goods.

Create that comparison

Whether you’re selling a photography course, bed, bottle of whisky, workshop, property, or drawing tablet, the one factor to remember is that clients either buy in a vacuum or in a comparison structure.

And you want to get them to compare. Once you’ve gotten them to pay attention to your product or service, you should then have a series of price and product comparisons on your own site or store.

So, create that comparison. Even if you don’t have a range of products and prices yet, get started moving in that direction today. 

And when you do, you can still lower (and raise) your prices. 

It’s at that point that the lower price becomes a strategy — not a knee-jerk reaction.

And it’s at that point that you start setting prices that make you — and your customers — a lot happier.

Want to take your content marketing to the next level?

Sean D’Souza is among the powerhouse lineup of speakers who will be presenting at Authority Rainmaker May 13–15, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. It’s integrated content, search, and social media marketing for real-world results.

Click here for all the details and to register before we go to full price.

About the Author: Sean D’Souza offers a great free report on “Why Headlines Fail” when you subscribe to his Psychotactics Newsletter. Be sure to check out his podcast, too.

The post Do Lower Prices Lead to More Sales? appeared first on Copyblogger.

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20 Examples of Fabulous Explainer Videos


Feel intimidated by the notion of creating an explainer video? There’s no need to be — they just represent another excellent way to get your content out to your target audience. Besides the really big brands that we are all familiar with, a lot of lesser-known companies and even small startups are using them.

Even if you believe your product isn’t “cool” enough to become a cute, cuddly explainer video, someone out there who has a problem that can be solved by what you have to offer would likely see it in a much different light. Sometimes a quick, easy, explanation is just what someone needs to help clearly understand how your product solves a problem.

Compiling an explainer video isn’t much more complicated than putting together a slide deck in a Powerpoint presentation. You decide what to say and find some relevant graphics to jazz things up. The only differences this time are that you’ll be recording a voiceover from a written script instead of presenting it live and you’ll need to be concise and truly explain how something is done. The biggest difference is the final step of putting all the pieces together into an easy-to-access, video file format.

Explainer videos should be 30-90 seconds in length which translates into a written script of around 200 words or less in most cases. To get a good feel for crafting yours, just examine the work of others. You’re bound to find something that resonates with you as a good example for brainstorming your own.

Here are 20 fabulous explainer videos. I’ve included the length of the video, when it was published and the types of product being highlighted so you can easily find something similar to your needs to serve as an example. You should have no trouble getting inspired to make an explainer video part of your marketing strategy.

1) Gigtown: A mobile application that helps people find, follow and book musicians.

2) Wizzki: A platform for managing the hiring process.

3) Gradeleap: A schoolwork management system for parents, students, and teachers.

4) Mailbox: A fun, quick preview of an email management application.

5) Pinterest: A nice touch is that they explain right up front how long the video will last.

6) ScaleArc iDB: An SQL traffic management engine is explained in this cute animation.

7) Alden Systems: A software application for joint use asset management, primarily used for managing utility poles.

8) Student Hut: A tool for college students to review and discuss any college class before deciding on their course of study.

9) FileExpert: An application for managing files on Android phones, tablets, personal computers, and cloud storage servers.

10) Furniture moving, junk removal, and clean up service.

11) Olark: Customer service tool. This one does a very good job of explaining what they offer and includes a special offer at the end.

12) SatPhoneCity: This satellite phone services company good job of giving a quick overview of just what they do and how they offer value. 

13) Adoddle PM: This brief explainer video highlights the risk associated with mistakes that might result from poor planning and communication, and offers a corporate collaboration tool.

14) This video shows you how a product can help you create mind maps and work out ideas to make a plan to put them in action.

15) Tonx: Nice video that tells a story about why every coffee lover needs their freshly roasted coffee mail order service.

16) PG&E: A solar billing service. This video is short and concise.

17) Verico: A mortgage insurance provider explains how their product works and provides value.

18) NextGlass: Nice video that explains how a craft beer and wine discovery application works.

19) Amazon Echo: Great example of how an explainer video is just the thing when your product is somewhat revolutionary. This one is long as explainer videos go, but illustrates how show and tell might be the best route for explaining how a product works.

20) CashOut: This one falls more in the lines of a demo and does a good job of illustrating the value of “easy” to the small business owner much more quickly than written content. A unique point about it is it uses no voiceover.


Want to learn how to make your own explainer video? Download our guide on creating a compelling explainer video about Inbound Marketing!

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BarCode Scanner Pro – Android Version

Product Features

  • Barcode Scanner Pro is modified with Improved and Advanced Algorithm for scanning barcodes at lighting speed.
  • 32 Major Spoken Languages Support has been added in Pro Version.
  • Scan barcodes of all types (Quick Code, QR Code, Data Matrix, EAN 8/13, Code39, Code128, Interleaved 2of5) on products.
  • Check prices and reviews of products online immediately to select the best product.
  • Share contacts, Bookmarks and clipboard content.
  • Easily share contacts and links among fellow users via generated barcodes.
  • Search multiple engines, integrated with Google Shopper by default.
  • Auto Save history of all BarCodes you scanned. Also share your contacts, apps, and bookmarks via QR Code.
  • Share Data by displaying a barcode on your screen and scan it with another phone.
  • Bulk scanning mode allows for rapid scanning of multiple codes.

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ScreenFlow [Download]

Record your screen. Edit your video. Share with the world. Telestream ScreenFlow® is an award-winning, powerful screencasting and video editing software for Mac that enables high-quality software or iPhone demos, professional video tutorials, in-depth video training, and dynamic presentations. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, iOS device, microphone and your computer audio. The easy-to-use editing interface, updated with a fresh new look for Yosemite, lets you creatively edit your video, and add additional images, text, music and transitions for a professional-looking screencast. The result is an MP4 or QuickTime movie, ready for publishing to the Web or directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Facebook, Google Drive or Dropbox.Highest quality screen recording Retina display? No problem. Our efficient algorithm enables full-screen, 2880 x 1800-resolution screen capture with brilliant detail, while keeping file sizes low. Powerful video editing Easily add images, text, audio, video transitions and more to create professional-looking videos. Nested clips, closed captioning, chroma key, mouse callouts, annotations, rolling edits, video and audio filters, video actions such as iOS Touch callouts and freehand callouts are just a few of the touches that make ScreenFlow editing easy and powerful. Intuitive User Interface Every so often design and function combine to form an elegant piece of software that’s easy and fun to use. ScreenFlow makes editing video easy, so users can focus on creatively telling their story. Superior Export Quality & Speed ScreenFlow uses the popular x264 codec for significantly faster and higher quality H.264 exports.ScreenFlow runs as a fully 64-bit application, which improves overall performance, memory usage, export speed, and scalability. Expanded publishing options let you easily publish your video to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Google Drive, Dropbox or Facebook in just a few clicks.

System Requirements:Supported OS:   [Mac OS X]Processor:   Intel based MacRAM:   Minimum 2 GB RAMHard Disk:   20 GB hard driveVideo Card:   Standard with i3 unitsAdditional Requirements:   Mac OS X 10.9.5, Mac OS X 10.10

Recommended System Requirements:Recommended Processor:   64-bit processor (Core i3 recommended)

Product Features

  • Record direct from your iOS device (Note: Requires a USB lightning connection, iOS 8 and Mac OS X 10.10)
  • Add markers while recording
  • Batch export
  • Direct access to iPhoto and iTunes Libraries from ScreenFlow’s Media library
  • …and much more!

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FTC Report Reveals Consumer Concerns About the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is a nebulous buzzword that refers to anything that connects to the internet. In an attempt to better define the government’s approach to the Internet of Things the Federal Trade Commission has released a report [PDF], which examines the pros and cons of Internet of Things adoption for consumers.

The FTC hosted an in-house workshop to discuss some of the primary concerns regarding theInternet of Things, one of which was security. Participants noted that the Internet of Things could harm consumers in several ways:

  • Enabling unauthorized access and misuse of personal information
  • Facilitating attacks on other systems
  • Creating risks to personal safety
  • Another major primary concern, according to the report, is the amount of data being exposed to the public space that is the internet. Gizmodo contributor Kate Knibbs singled out sections of the report that show just how much data could be collected on users by their devices.

    Indeed, the report indicates that smartphone sensors could be used to infer:

    [U]ser’s mood; stress levels; personality type; bipolar disorder; demographics (e.g., gender, marital status, job status, age); smoking habits; overall well-being; progression of Parkinson’s disease; sleep patterns; happiness; levels of exercise; and types of physical activity or movement.

    All that data is way beyond the scope of what users would permit through a simple user agreement.

    The participants recommended companies take proactive measures to address these concerns, including:

  • Considering security from the outset instead of applying it as an afterthought.
  • Minimizing the amount of data collected.
  • Testing products before launch to identify significant risks before those risks expose user data.
  • When it came to legislative recommendations, the opinions of workshop participants diverged. However FTC staff \”emphasize that general technology-neutral data security legislation should protect against unauthorized access to both personal information and device functionality itself.\” The agency also called for congress to enact general privacy and security legislation that will protect consumers on the internet as a whole.

    Workshop participants and FTC staff did, agreed though about the need to avoid stifling the Internet of Things during its formative years by developing self-regulatory programs for particular industries to encourage the adoption of privacy- and security-sensitive practices.

    Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Reblogged 4 years ago from

    Highlights of Facebook’s 4Q 2014 Earnings Call

    While a great deal of time was devoted to advertising during Facebook’s fourth-quarter and full-year-2014 earnings call Wednesday, several other topics were addressed, as well.

    Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the following statistics related to usage of Facebook and its applications during his opening remarks:

    One interesting sign of our continued growth in engagement is through our progress on visual and public content. More than 2 billion photos are now shared daily on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Video also grew significantly this year, with an average of more than 3 billion video views daily on Facebook. And there are now more than 2 billion interactions every week on Facebook between public figures and their fans.

    Instagram is also growing and helping people share and consume the most engaging content in different communities across the world. Instagram reached 300 million monthly actives, with more than 70 percent outside of the U.S. Average time spent using the app continues to be very strong compared to other mobile services. Across Facebook and Instagram, we’ve done a very good job on engagement, especially when it comes to helping people find and consume content they like.

    Next, let’s talk about our efforts over the next five years to build the next generation of Facebook services. We expect WhatsApp and Messenger to connect hundreds of millions of more people and become indispensable services for the world, as well as important contributors to our business. Messenger and WhatsApp recently achieved impressive new milestone. In November, Messenger reached 500 million monthly actives, and at the beginning of January, WhatsApp reached 700 million monthly actives, with more than 30 billion messages sent each day. These numbers speaks the quality of both products and the size of the opportunity ahead to help billions of people communicate and collaborate.

    Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg chimed in on video:

    In just one year, the number of video posts per person on Facebook increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S. Today, over 50 percent of people in the U.S. who come to Facebook daily watch at least one video per day, and globally, over 65 percent of Facebook video views occur on mobile.

    The most entertaining exchange of Wednesday’s call resulted in Zuckerberg saying he wants investors in Facebook to share the mission of the company. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Carlos Karjner asked:

    Mark, I think in every earnings call, you talk to investors for a considerable amount of time about Facebook mission to connect the world, and specifically about, which suggests that you think this is important for investors. Can you clarify why you think this matters to investors and why you think Facebook can make a significant difference of scale?

    Zuckerberg replied:

    Well, it matters to the kind of investors that we want to have, because we’re a really mission-focused company, and we wake up every day and make decisions because we want to help connect the world, and that’s what we’re doing here. So part of that the subtext of your question is that yes, if we were only focused on making money, we might put all of our energy on just increasing ads to people in the U.S. and the other most developed countries. But that’s not the only thing that we care about here.

    So I do think that over the long term, focusing on helping to connect everyone will be a good business opportunity for us, as well. And we may not be able to tell you exactly in how many years that’s going to happen, but I think that as these countries get more connected, the economics growth, the ad markets growth and Facebook and the other services in our community or the No. 1 and Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 services that people are using, then over time, we will be compensated for some of the value that we have provided. But this is why we are here: We are here because our mission is to connect the world, and I just think it’s really important than investors know that.

    Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia brought up the potential monetization of WhatsApp with this question:

    Just quickly on WhatsApp, I know the focus will be user growth for a while, but in the future, as you do turn on the monetization engine, just curious: What are some of the primary ways that you’re assuming growth will come — from advertising, or games perhaps? And also on WhatsApp user growth, would you be able to call out where that’s coming from? Are there any particular areas that are stronger, and I’m curious how that’s doing in the U.S.?

    Zuckerberg responded:

    So you’re right that the focus for WhatsApp is on helping to connect a lot more people, all right. So when (WhatsApp co-founder and CEO and Facebook board member Jan Koum) and his team joined us, one of the first things that we agreed on, and why I think it made sense for them to join, is that now, they can focus for a few years on getting to 1 billion and continuing to scale beyond that. SMS is an incredibly global and universal product, and I think WhatsApp just has a huge opportunity to serve billions of people. In terms of what the business looks like, I mean, at the end of the day, it’s a distribution business, like Facebook and Instagram — how do you most effectively convert that into business opportunities for customers, whether that’s through payments or ads or other different kinds of structures.

    We’ll figure out what the optimal thing will be, but the first order of things to do is to help our billions of people here, help to continue to increase engagement. I mean, people are spending a lot of time in WhatsApp, sending more than 30 billion messages per day, which is really crazy when you think about the volume there compared to the global SMS volume overall. And I think if we do that, there will be a number of opportunities.

    People asked me this question a while ago, when we talked about games on Facebook, as well. And I always talked about our canvas business on desktop, even though its payment is actually the same thing as our business on mobile around app install and engagement. What developers test for is distribution, and whether they’re doing that through payments or ads or whatever it is, it kind of is all the same. The most important thing is to help people connect, help people and businesses connect and create business opportunities, and then you get a small amount of the value that you’re creating on top. So that will play out over the next set of years, and it’s one of the intellectual challenges that I am really looking forward to tackle.

    UBS analyst Eric Sheridan asked on the subject of search:

    It’s early days, but what is the company seeing in terms of the way people are interacting with the new search functionality inside Facebook broadly? And then maybe tying it back to advertising, what might that mean for closing the loop with some of your small and midsized business advertisers?

    Zuckerberg replied:

    So, our view on this is that there is a lot of unique content that people have shared on Facebook, a lot of personal content, recommendations from friends that you can get that you just wouldn’t be able to get through a traditional Web search service or other app. And we’re on this multiyear voyage to basically index all of the content and make it available to people and rank it well. We started off by launching Graph Search, which I think included more than 1 trillion different connections in the first system.

    And the second round of the search progress that we just started rolling out at the end of last year was post search, which now has indexed more than I think 1 trillion posts, which, I mean, the sizes of these corpuses are bigger than anything in a traditional Web search corpus that you would find. So it’s an interesting and fun challenge to make this work. We’re seeing that that people immediately understand how they can use this and find content that they have seen in News Feed before or that they’ve posted with just a few keywords.

    And we’re excited about that, but there is a lot more to do. So we’re not really thinking about advertising in it yet on the scale that our community operates — 1 billion searches per day is actually not that big compared to what we think the opportunity here should be. And we’re just continued to keep on working on it because there is just a lot of unique value that people should be able to get from their friends on Facebook search.

    Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler addressed video with the following question:

    How important is it that Facebook posts the videos versus I guess sharing clips from third-party players in the feed, and what percent of those 3 billion streams daily is Facebook-embedded versus from other players? Ae you able to monetize videos from third-party players today? Is there is a way to work around that in the future?

    Zuckerberg answered:

    This thought that we shared 3 billion per day is all made on Facebook. So there are probably other shares from other video services, as well. The reason that I think made video is so valuable for people using our service is that when someone uploads a video to Facebook directly, we can optimize how it delivers right. So we can make it auto-play. We can find the right quality and bit rate to send down to the person based on their connection over time, and optimize all kinds of different things. So what I think people are finding from public figures to everyday videos that people are uploading is that the best experience that you can get is by uploading content native to Facebook, which is, I think, the big part of the growth that we seeing there.

    Readers: What were your impressions of Facebook’s fourth-quarter and full-year-2014 earnings report?

    Image of fourth-quarter red pencil courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Reblogged 4 years ago from

    How Social Media Behaviors Differ Across Asia Pacific

    how social media is different by country

    The vast memberships and fast growth show that social media is a truly global phenomenon. Most of the major social networks have global audiences numbering in the high millions, if not billions, with growth in nearly every country of the world. Social’s ability to instantly connect people in thousands of different countries can make the miles between nations disappear. For businesses with customers around the world, it provides the unprecedented opportunity to reach their audiences in every corner of the world with a few key strokes.

    Despite all the closeness an Internet connection can provide, there are still some fascinating behavioral quirks that mark the borders between regions and countries. When your business is embarking on a global social strategy, it is important to understand how different areas of the world view and use social media.

    Asia Pacific is a particularly interesting region, with generally high rates of Internet usage and a range of social networks that are unfamiliar to western audiences. Understanding the ins and outs that distinguish these markets is a must for multinational businesses looking to forge strong connections with those audiences. Here, we review the typical behaviors for social media use in China, Japan, and India.

    Broad Trends in Asia Pacific

    A study by integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom examined brand engagement trends within the broader Asia Pacific reason as well as on specific countries. The research found that 78 percent of consumers get information about products and services on social media, and 68 percent share that brand-related information on social channels.

    Facebook is the most popular network in the region, according to Bloomberg, boasting nearly 1.2 billion users as of January 2014. The networks most common to western audiences have much smaller followings in Asia Pacific. WhatsApp has 400 million members, Google+ has 300 million, LinkedIn has 259 million, Twitter has 232 million, and Tumblr has 230 million.


    China is one of the most interesting nations in this region. The world’s most populous country has some restrictions around web properties; in fact, some of the top networks in other nations are blocked entirely. That’s not to say social media is non-existent. Statista projected that there would be 410.5 million social users in 2015, rising up to 504.1 million in 2018, and We Are Social found social media penetration at 42 percent of the total population.

    Rather than Facebook or Twitter, Chinese netizens are more likely to be on networks created by Chinese businesses. Conglomerate Tencent owns several social media properties that have huge followings. Messaging app QQ ranked as the second most popular network in Asia Pacific with 816 million users, while blogging platform Qzone came in third with 632 million and Tencent Weibo secured 220 million members. Those Tencent properties are among the most valuable social brands in the country. And while those businesses are centered in China, the networks are global platforms.

    Online brand engagement isn’t the strongest in China. GlobalWebIndex found that China’s average level of engagement was just 21.7 percent, ranking seventh out of 33 nations reviewed. The Economist also noted that Chinese shoppers place a high priority in reviews from friends and family, citing data from BCG that showed two-thirds of Chinese buyers relied on online recommendations for moisturizer purchases, compared with less than 40 percent for American shoppers. It’s entirely possible that brand engagement in China is low because businesses outside the region are less familiar with the other popular networks and have had a harder time building up the interest and reputation among Chinese tastemakers.


    The cultural mores of Asia Pacific countries has also impacted the adoption of social media networks. For instance, Japanese culture discourages boasting and self-promotion. Thus, according to research by Social Media Today, Facebook’s real name policy has led it to be used as a marketing and professional tool, while LinkedIn has seen limited growth. It’s also noteworthy that the social audience here skews older, with only 34 percent of Japan’s Internet users in the under 35 age bracket.

    As in China, several of the most popular networks are regional ones that have not migrated west. There’s also a strong interest in messaging rather than networks that broadcast status updates. Line is a domestic messaging app that has had some brand adoption, such as with Hello Kitty, but only about 300 brands have joined as official partners.

    A survey by Fast-Ask showed that Line had the most use on a daily basis at 40.4 percent, followed by Twitter at 32.6 percent and Facebook at a low 23.5 percent. In fact, We Are Social found that Facebook penetration in Japan was just 17 percent. The agency found that only 66 percent of Japanese people had an account on any social media platform, and just 42 percent had used their accounts in the past month.

    While Waggener Edstrom found that average paid media engagement in Asia Pacific is 74 percent, Japan fell below that rate with just 60 percent of respondents actively engaging with or clicking on ad content.

    Brands looking to push their social media presence in Japan should invest the resources to understand the cultural differences at play on- and offline. This is also one of the few markets internationally where simply turning to the usually dominant Facebook is not likely to yield good results.


    India has the type of breakdown of social media popularity that other nations have displayed. Facebook is the most common, with 94 percent of Indians owning an account. Google+ was second most popular, followed by Twitter, according to data from We Are Social.

    The large population of social participants has proven open to brand interactions. GlobalWebIndex found that India had the highest brand engagement rate in the final quarter of 2013, clocking in at 26.9 percent. Paid media engagement was also high, with Waggener Edstrom finding that 83 percent of digital consumers in India clicked on advertisements posted by brands they like.

    While social media and brand engagement is high, it’s worth noting that mobile usage is much lower than in other Asia Pacific nations. Nielsen found that smartphone penetration was just 18 percent as of January 2014.

    For now, the openness to engaging with brands makes India an attractive market for multinational businesses that are interested, but mobile resources are better focused on other areas.

    The post How Social Media Behaviors Differ Across Asia Pacific appeared first on Sprout Social.

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    What Ariana Grande Is Doing That Your Brand Isn’t

    What Ariana Grande Is Doing That Your Brand Isn’t

    Sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair. Celebrities seem to have it all – fame, money, talent, and enviable social media power.

    Many celebrities have amassed a gigantic and engaged social media following that builds their voice, excites their fans and strengthens their overall brand. Fortunately, you don’t have to include being a platinum recording artist or award-winning actor to learn from their actions. In fact, many of the elements that have helped today’s coolest celebrities to secure strong social followings are ideas that any brand can tap into as well. These three women – Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, and Nicole Richie – showcase some of the steps any entity can take for a more compelling social presence.

    Ariana Grande

    Ariana Grande Twitter

    Yes, many of Ariana Grande’s social media posts come from concert rehearsals or promotional events. But interspersed with those missives are the type of posts you’d expect from a 21-year-old who loves to tweet. She chats with her friends and gushes about her boyfriend. She snaps lots of selfies and frequent photos of her dog. Most evenings she wishes her fans good night.

    On Twitter and Instagram, Grande seems to be unfettered by a PR team or concerns about image. Her tweets are informal, and based on her spelling choices are not being vetted by a team. She does sometimes share updates from her promotional efforts, but they still have the feel of being just another day at work rather than a calculated marketing plan. This gives extra value to her interactions with fans, since they read like genuine messages from an individual, rather than the canned responses a brand sometimes has to make.

    Brand Takeaway:  Misspellings and random grammar probably won’t work for your brand, but providing your audience with an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at your brand can showcase that you’re human (and even fun). Incorporating a personal touch to the routine interactions can help create a better sense of community and build loyalty.

    Taylor Swift

    During the 2014 holiday season, pop singer Taylor Swift took an opportunity to give early Christmas presents to some of her Tumblr superfans. Swift picked out 32 people on the blog network who expressed a deep appreciation for her work and sent them generous boxes of presents, complete with handwritten and personal notes about the various items. The giddy fans shared photos and videos of their surprise presents on social, dubbing it “Swiftmas.”

    Brand Takeaway: Swiftmas is a great example of how to give recognition to the most loyal fans. Brands frequently pay lip service to community-building, but their moves in that area often seem half-hearted. Taylor Swift dove headfirst into an effort to sincerely thank the people who have felt the strongest connection with her, both as a person and as a musician, and have actively worked to be informal brand ambassadors for the singer. Gifts are an act of generosity, and the unexpectedness of having a personal interaction with somebody they admire helped make Swiftmas a huge social sensation.

    Nicole Richie

    Nicole Ritchie Instagram

    Many of the popular photo networks have an aspirational quality. People share their best side and present the image that they want others to have of their life. That element of exhibitionism could explain why Nicole Richie, a reality television personality and fashion influencer, has been so successful with Instagram.

    Richie has used her social photos to show snaps from her day to day celebrity life while still reflecting her own quirky personality. Some of the photos are casual shots of her family, but many also promote her latest projects and appearances. Her fashion choices are edgy – not everyone can pull off blue hair – so even when it might be an ad, it’s hard to not want to see what she’ll be wearing or doing next. Her Instagram feed reflects a unique style sensibility and a sense of goofy fun that has secured her many devoted fans.

    Brand Takeaway: The big lesson here is that it’s okay to be different. If your brand has a hard-rocking edge, then put that on display. If your business is a little weird, show that off to the fullest extent. Personality and a distinct outlook stand out on social just as they do in person. The key is to make your style presentation sincere. Just as the teenagers trying too hard to be cool will automatically fail, forcing a personality that’s not natural to your brand will most likely alienate or confuse your followers.

    The post What Ariana Grande Is Doing That Your Brand Isn’t appeared first on Sprout Social.

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    Using Your Social Audience as a Focus Group 

    Using Your Social Audience as a Focus Group 

    Often, social media is the domain of our marketing or customer service departments (or both). But while social is an essential tool for these purposes, the data and insights gleaned from social networking can have a big impact on your businesses’ actual product or service. The key? Asking for and listening to customer feedback, which can be used to inform your product decisions. In doing so, you not only gain useful feedback, but your customers also feel you’re listening to their concerns — a win/win situation for any business.

    You’re probably already using social listening as part of your strategy to identify what’s being said about your company and address problems before they have a chance to become viral sensations. So why not use these same tools to compile feedback that could inform your business as a whole?

    One of the biggest success stories for this kind of social listening is Domino’s Pizza, which has used the wide reach of social feedback to collect customer reports on its food quality, which the business then used to improve its offerings. “Social media was a big arena for us to get a lot of that feedback,” Chris Brandon, the company’s director of communications, explained in an interview with DBusiness. “It wasn’t just classic research methods, like focus groups and surveys and those things. It was actually getting out there and hearing from people.”

    By listening to customers on social channels through its Pizza Turnaround campaign, Domino’s did turn the business around, with stock prices up over 700 percent since 2010, with big growth in both sales and stores. While we can’t promise that all social feedback will produce such dramatic business results, taking the time to listen to your customers on social channels and cultivating a successful social test group can have big business impact.

    Can Social Media Replace Focus Groups?

    When it comes to collecting customer options, social media has some advantages and some disadvantages over a more traditional focus group environment. Social media is fast, allowing you to collect immediate feedback on anything you want, and, depending on your social following, the number of responses is likely to beat out a traditional focus group or survey.

    However, you have to remember to take socially collected data with a grain of salt. Depending on the network you’re on, it can be tough to tell who you’re talking to, making it difficult or even impossible to try to collect a random sample of participants or gauge the opinions of specific demographic groups. Further, the nature of social interactions means you’re probably getting a fast answer to a single question rather than an in-depth response. Quick feedback might be poorly thought-out, be unclear, not address the question you were trying to ask, or simply reflect a follower who was in a bad mood when they saw the question in the first place.

    Despite these potential downfalls, businesses are definitely making good use of this kind of social insight, some of them on a big scale. Take a look at Lay’s, which is currently running a “Do Us A Flavor” contest where social followers are asked to submit chip flavors, which everyone can vote on. Even though the company is giving out a big cash prize, it may be a small price tag for that much consumer-approved research and development.

    Asking the Right Questions

    You can — and you should! — gather data about what social media users think of your company and your products simply through social listening. However, to gather data about a specific subject, you’ll want to ask questions. The way you pose those questions can have a big impact on the responses you gather or even lead people to answer a certain way or another.

    Because your data is only as good as the questions you ask, you’ll want to take time to ensure you’re asking the right ones. Make sure your questions are clear to avoid any possible confusion. You may also want to avoid yes/no questions, as they encourage a simple response without digging into how or why your followers feel that way. It may help to test your questions on people in the office, or even asking what kind of social feedback they’d be interested in hearing, to make sure you’re asking just the right questions before you send them out to all of your social followers.

    As to where to ask these questions, we suggest using the network where you have the largest active follower count. While different social networks do reflect different demographics which could influence your results, asking on the network (or networks) where you have the most active fan-base is likely to get you the most responses. Depending on the questions you’re asking, you may find that singling out key social followers or influencers to ask questions of can help you get better answers or more in-depth feedback.

    If your initial effort hasn’t produced the responses or number of responses you hoped for, don’t be shy about revisiting the subject or asking follow-up questions. Though you won’t want to saturate your social feed with this kind of content, a rephrased question, a question posted at a different time of day, or a question with an eye-catching visual attached can garner more responses. Though the company is asking a silly question, you can see how Oreo makes use of compelling visuals to encourage responses.

    Your followers are likely to appreciate their opinion being asked, especially if it’s taken seriously by your business. To that end, be sure to keep your followers up to date on what comes of their feedback. If you’re still struggling to get responses, offering some kind of incentive for participation, even if it’s a small one, can also encourage your followers to stop and leave a comment instead of just scrolling by.

    Turning Data into Decisions

    Soliciting for information is only the first step: once you have the customer feedback you wanted, you have to make sense of it and decide what to do about it. Tools and software can help you compile the responses to questions as well as gauge the overall sentiment on a subject, but you’ll also want to look through responses for notable comments. Comments that add particular insight to the conversation are worth highlighting for decision-makers, who are likely to find the feedback interesting even if they don’t have time to comb through all of the responses themselves.

    If you’re asking questions to inform your social strategy, it’s easy integrate feedback into your social plan whether it’s on your own or in consultation with a larger social media team. However, if the feedback you’ve collected doesn’t relate to your department, you may find yourself needing to sell the value of this social feedback to colleagues with less social expertise. If you need to win someone on the team over, it will likely be easier if you start with a question or issue you know they want further information on or enlist them to weigh in on the questions you pose. Asking questions about low-impact issues can also help prove the worth of this feedback by limiting the risk involved by listening.

    Whatever the case, taking the time to make the data easy to parse, even for individuals without a social media background, and highlighting specific, actionable feedback can make it easier for staff in other departments to understand the value of social insight.

    The post Using Your Social Audience as a Focus Group  appeared first on Sprout Social.

    Reblogged 4 years ago from