What is even more impressive than the volume of traffic is the amount of time spent by users on social networking sites. Social networks capture more time than emails, games, and entertainment activities online. In half of the markets surveyed, spend more than 4 hours a month on social network sites.
Wait, did you think the traffic and the number of hours have been contributed by pesky teenagers visiting social networking sites?? What used to be an activity dominated by the 18-24 year old demographic is now a main activity in the digital lives of users across all age groups. In Singapore and Hong Kong for instance, more than half of social networkers are age 35 and older. So now marketers trying to capture eyeballs in the Asia Pacific region know where to invest their money!
Gatorade is using social media to pump up sales that have been declining for the past 3 years. In an ambitious move, PepsiCo which owns the brand) has invested in a glassed in converted conference room for “mission control” employees. The “mission control” team monitors the social media network 24 hrs to listen to conversations, understand what consumers are telling about their brand. It is tweeting encouragement to high-school athletes before big games and tapping out responses to Facebook queries such as when to use a new protein drink. It also takes steps to correct any consumer who does not have the right idea about the brand. For example Gatorade’s “mission control team” corrected when one of the tweeter said Gatorade contains high-fructose corn syrup.
The brand has also taken steps to not sound too intrusive. It joins the discussion only when it feels that the consumers are asking a question about the brand. Other times, when users just involve the brand in casual conversations, Gatorade lets them do it without interrupting. Here is a video of their “Mission Control” ad.
Its the time of the century where not just humans but inanimate objects tend to use social media to explain their ‘feelings’. A 100 year old tree in Brussels was equipped with a range of equipment and measuring tools (dust meter, ozone meter, etc…) and lets us know every day how it’s doing. You can follow the daily musings on Facebook, Twitter and on the website. Watch the video below and you will be amazed! now dont be surprised if your post gets ‘like’ response from a tree or squirrel.
The new brand to embrace social media is the world of Mickey Mouse. No points for guessing, it is Disney Land right away. Disney has come up with a clever way of involving its customers. The campaign is called “let the memories begin” and asks families to submit their memories of Disneyland on Youtube, Facebook, MySpace and a dedicated website. Disney has created a collage of Ads featuring the photos and videos.
In addition, starting this January, Disney is launching its spectacular night concept. Disney Photopass Photographers will take pictures, which will then be projected in the night sky. Quite a spectacular way to end a visit to Disney’s magical kingdom if you ask me!
American express is the latest brand to join the social media bandwagon to connect with prospective customers. The famous credit card company has recruited money experts and clever writers to help in their launch of a new financial services community called Currency. The community is targeted at helping recent university graduates manage their incomes better. It delves on obvious topics such as managing student loans, handling your taxes and arranging insurance. Sounds boring? To capture the interests of fun, loving young generation, Amex has introduced some fun content too. Fun posts talk about how to host a dinner party on a tight budget, or how to vet a roommate candidate on Craigslist. Which recent graduate wouldn’t want to know these fun stuff?
The community also has an in built game called Social Currency. It is an application available on Foursquare. It allows you to check in to stores and create wish lists with pictures and price tags.
Credit card companies are coming up with innovative social media strategies to involve their customers. It is time for Indian credit card companies to embrace this new media. What strategies do you think Indian companies can employ? We would love to hear your views.