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Category - Social Media

Weibos and Qs – China’s Social Networks

China is an influential country. The culture, the food, the language and of course its social media platforms. Notably two Chinese platforms, Qzone and Sina Weibo, have claimed top spots on the list of the biggest social networks in the world, after sure-shots Facebook and YouTube.  With roughly 600 million netizens and getting close to 500 million mobile web users, this eastern giant of a country is every online marketer’s wet dream.
 
So what are the chief online networks our fellow Chinese netizens are utilising? Well, there are a number of interesting platforms for these web savvy explorers, including the ones just mentioned. So who are these culprits? This calls for some bullet points:
Qzone: This huge platform, competing with almighty Facebook, is actually one branch of the Tencent tree. Tencent is China’s top Internet portal as well as the leading internet company in terms of revenue.  Qzone is one of the first social sharing sites to be introduced in China and focuses on page customisation and personal expression. Those with a Qzone account can integrate other Tencent features such as the instant messaging service QQ and microblog Tencent Weibo (which has a full English interface). Qzone can most likely thank Tencents other networks for its total of 712 million users.
Sina Weibo: We just mentioned Tencent Weibo, which is a completely different platform (note, “Weibo” simply means microblog). However, usually when someone talks about “weibo”, it’s the Sina version they’re referring to. Getting an increasing amount of attention in the rest of the world, Sina Weibo is especially interesting for the western market. The platform has a 140 character limit, but before you yell “Twitter” it must be said that 140 Chinese characters equals about 70-80 words in English. This makes it a little more Facebooky, especially since it allows images and video whilst, in contemporary social media fashion, making use of both @ and #. It’s primarily used as a news feed and has also become quite a celebrity hub. Oh, and did we mention that Sina Weibo has a total of about 500 million users?
WeChat: Does the name sound a little familiar? WeChat is pretty much the Chinese version of  WhatsApp and offers users (250 monthly active users (MAUs)) the possibility to send voice and text messages, find friends and share photos. You may come in contact with this one without knowing it, as it used to be called “Weixin”.
RenRen: If you ever visit a RenRen account you may think that Google accidentally translated your Facebook account into Chinese. Not only does RenRen share Facebook’s design, but also some of its history. Originally a college project (pretty much like Facebook), RenRen’s fan base (54 million MAUs) mostly consist of students. Kaixin is a big competitor, one that has had a stroke of bad luck as they do not own the actual kaixin.com URL. This was bought by none other than (wait for it) RenRen, who have used it in a way that forced Kaixin into taking legal action.  The fact that the two networks look awfully alike adds to the confusion.
Hopefully that will do as a rundown of the main social networks inhabiting the Chinese online jungle. And no, we didn’t mention niche platforms like the intellectual choice Douben or P1.cn (which focus on the top earning 10% of the Chinese population). Hopefully this has been enough to make you aware of the possible reach within the most populated country in the world.

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Ten Years of Likes

It all started ten years ago, 4 February 2004, when a Harvard University student devised an idea that made the world more open and connected. With a group of peers he started out connecting with his fellow students, with a vision that later on he would invite other schools and perhaps further down the track, the world. Now his creation is a socially altering, online phenomenon. This is of course the story of Mark Zuckerberg and what started out as “The Facebook”.
After dropping the “The” and deciding that a social network could be in the interest of the world outside of the Ivy League, Facebook became the defining factor of social media, maybe even a key driver of the digital age. Most people will probably have a hard time recalling a period when we didn’t take social media updates into consideration – a time when liking didn’t involve clicking and when sharing was something you did with cake. 1.23 billion is about the size of India’s population, but it’s also the number of Facebook’s monthly active users, making it the largest social media platform in the world. For those of you who crave more numbers, here’s a few:

        The last ten years have resulted in 150 billion friend connections;
        1.13 trillion likes since the start;
        A user population where 76% log on every day;
        An average of 8.3 active hours per user every month.

The fact is that the world has become more connected, Facebook IS the platform where people all over the world catch up, connect with new people or simply let off some steam. Mark Zuckerberg’s vision could not have been better realised.
But now what? Another ten years on Facebook? That’s a good question. There is what has been known as the “teen problem”, where teenagers supposedly leave Facebook for other platforms, and a recent, although criticised, study from Princeton University tells us that the social network could lose 80% of its users by 2017.
Zuckerberg has admitted that he has been too slow to take advantage of mobile, resulting in mobile friendly platforms such as Snapchat, Twitter and Whatsapp giving the older platform a hard time in an age when an increasing number of people have smartphones. Buying Instagram was a smart move, but is that enough?
The company puts much hope in its slick newspaper app called “Paper”, aiming at capturing smartphone-wielding newsreaders. As one of the main features on Facebook’s new ten year plan, it provides a taste of what the future may look like. Trying to include everything into one package, Facebook forced competitors into finding niches, something that has been quite lucrative for some.
Perhaps in the future we’ll see a slightly more fragmented Facebook, locating those niches and taking on competitors on all fronts. Only time will tell if this is a successful approach.
 
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The Art of Tweeting #1

 
Well marketers, gather around, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the way Twitter works. Most  people are familiar with Twitter. Well, let’s be honest. Anyone in the 21st Century knows about Twitter but few people have learnt the science behind it.
 
Twitter is a unique social platform in that it allows you to express your thoughts in only 140 characters. What happens if you exceed 140?  And how do you showcase your company’s bio as smartly as possible in just 140 characters?

 
Despite its restriction on the number of words you can use, this social media platform is amongst the extremely popular ones. Therefore, it is amongst the social media platforms that many businesses decided to infiltrate as well.
However, while it serves the purpose of being a social media platform for the ordinary man, not everyone is convinced that Twitter is the right platform for their business. But if you pay attention, you might learn something.
Brand or Personal?
When starting a Twitter account for your business, it’s always best to make it a brand page. Now that you’re setting it up, here are a few tips to follow:
•    Set your username to be that of your business name. Make sure to pick something which is an easier version of your business name. For example: AaKittens – AdoptaKitten. With next to no punctuation in it, mobile users can find you easily as well.
•    Upload your logo into the profile picture spot and include a background image that reflects your business.
•    When you come to the “about” section, make sure you use one word descriptions rather than whole sentences. For example: @AaKittens – Kittens, Cats, Rescued animals, adoption center. Drop by someday. Location. Website.
Add Your Information
Like most social media sites, you should immediately add the appropriate information in the information page and link it to your business website. By doing so, you’re giving people an alternative place to go while your new Twitter account gains a following and takes off.  This also allows you to retain your consumers since you didn’t have to turn them away; you’ve just redirected them to your website for a little while.
Start Following People
Twitter can sometimes turn into a petty game of “following” and being “followed”.  If you are really interested in using that to your benefit then you can also improve your business’s visibility by following the right kind of people. In short, try to follow people who are:
•    Your contractors, suppliers, vendors and business partners.
•    Your peers or competitors
•    Professional organisations or trade organisations for your industry.
•    Neighborhood businesses.
•    People from your professional network.
However try to do your “following” in a relaxed manner and keep your foot off the throttle here. Twitter has rules which it strictly adheres to in order to make sure that there is no aggressive following happening.
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Social Media Trends for Big Business

 
Social media has started to make a big impact on the economy. While social media was once considered to be just a place to connect with people, it soon expanded and now encompasses the economy of the world. Once the global reach of social media was realised, it was only a matter of time before businesses started to utilise social media in a big way.
 
In a very short time, social media has become an integral part of most businesses enabling some to double their revenue over the past few years. Many big businesses seem to favor a few social media practices that have become very popular among other smaller businesses too. Based on popular social media trends, these big businesses utilise them in the following ways:
1. Implementing Marketing Basics in Social Media
Many people believe social media marketing is something pretty simple. All you do is sit at your desk and post stuff. That’s a fine excuse for using Facebook at work all the time!  However, big businesses take their social media as seriously as their marketing. With the help of market research, they take the time to analyse, strategise and produce content that is targeted to capture their audience yet simple to share on social media platforms.
2. Planning the Structure
More and more websites are becoming like social media platforms. While they don’t let you hang around and chat with your friends and family, these websites do showcase easy to navigate features, graphics and even colour combinations that entice you to spend more time on that page. With such pleasing aspects, websites have begun to morph more with social media websites and web pages.
3. Optimising the Structure
Technology has advanced nowadays to include devices like laptops, tablets and smart phones that can easily support internet connections. With the smaller and stronger processors available nowadays, tablets and smart phones function almost like a pocket computer. However, it is now almost a necessity to have various versions of it available in order to make it easier to view on the device your customer is  using. Having mobile friendly websites increase the chances of the user coming back to your mobile site by almost 74%.
4. Building Digital Foot Prints
Many people think all they need to do is add in the right SEO and they’re done. But many businesses, especially big businesses, create digital footprints for their social media and business. It’s pretty simple –  link all your social media websites with your business website and maintain the chain you’ve created. This makes it more likely that your business will appear on all search engines, whether it was YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that led them to your business profile.
5. Crisp Content
Nowadays, people are so overloaded with information and so visually enticed that they don’t always have the time or the patience to read through it all. Keep it short, keep it simple and to the point yet be able to impart all that you want to share. It sounds a lot harder than you might think but once you get the hang of it, nothing is simper.
 
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Social Media Tips for the CEO

Companies today cannot afford to have their top leaders on the sidelines when it comes to their social media campaigns. Most CEOs still believe they don’t need to participate; however, studies show that CEOs who do take part in their company’s digital marketing campaigns become better leaders.
 
Information sharing is definitely one of the benefits. Improving company reputation, continuous innovation and increase in business results are just a few of the many things that come when CEOs are active in social media. Their participation in these campaigns helps humanise the company – delivering better, and in turn, higher profits.
So, how does a CEO who’s a newbie in social media marketing become good at it? Where do they begin to retool themselves when it comes to new media as a communication platform?
Here are some tips that some of the world’s social media experts have identified as being important to every CEO.
•    Social media has redefined the role CEOs are expected to play in the content that their companies provide. They should be the chief content provider of their companies; thus they must be aware of the needs, wants and demands of their clientele to target them holistically, leaving no room for their competitors. Social media as a platform is an efficient and engaging way to relay information and its process also encourages CEOs to become better leaders.
•    CEOs who are active social media users can advance their communications not only with their employees but with target business partners too. From working with their own intranet and company website, and developing their own social media pages, including videos and images, the use of these social media tools can take CEOs beyond simple message dropping via Facebook or Twitter. The strategic use of social media can drive company content to different places across all channels.

•    CEOs should keep a blog. They have become CEOs for a reason and that usually means they are good at what they do. Perhaps they can even be considered experts in their field. Ordinary people often wonder what these CEOs think of certain issues that concern their industry thus keeping a blog and writing about various topics would definitely hook up a lot of target clients. A blog can be utilised not only as a content marketing campaign but as a reflection of perspective in context, meaning and even depth.
•    Using the company website as leverage means using the website as the digital keeper of all valuable information about the company. Yet it does not limit the company’s potential to influence people through various social media platforms. Content delivered through multiple formats can change the lives of a lot of people.
The self-authorship of CEOs allows them to use the power of content to spread the word about the company. They can be spontaneous yet not informal, just enough to keep their stakeholders engaged. CEOs that see the value of sociability in digital marketing will soon be able to reach out to more clients than they first expected.
 
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Stars That Made a Career from YouTube

YouTube has become one of the most powerful social media sites in the world. In just a little less than eight years since its official launch in 2005, It already reaches more US adults (ages 18-34) than any cable network. It has millions of subscribers, and the numbers double each year. The site is also available to hundreds of millions of mobile devices.
 
While YouTube may be the perfect online platform for your digital marketing strategy, aside from pushing brands into greater heights, it has also been proven to catapult people into stardom. Several of the biggest names in the entertainment industry were once just another face on the YouTube screen.
Here are several of the stars that made it big through the video sharing site:
Justin Bieber
Who doesn’t know Justin Bieber? You may hate him, you may love him, but you definitely know him. The Biebs shot into fame after American talent manager Scooter Braun saw his videos on YouTube, and as they say, the rest is history.
Bieber has been singing since he was a kid. At the age of 12, he entered a local singing competition in Stratford, Canada, where he sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” His mum, Pattie Mallette, uploaded the video on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to post videos of Justin singing, and continually it gained more and more hits.
Since being discovered on the video sharing website, Bieber has released four studio albums; has won a multitude of awards, including a Billboard Music Awards Milestone Award and two Grammy Award nominations; has toured the world over; and has gained millions and millions and millions of fans (he has the most followers on Twitter with 42.7 million).
His story shows perfectly how to use social media marketing.
Sophia Grace and Rosie
These two youngsters made TV look cute (and annoying) again. Discovered by Ellen DeGeneres on YouTube, after Sophia’s mom posted a video of the two giving their cutest rendition of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” in a tutu, Sophia Grace and Rosie have become instant superstars. Aside from a recurring segment on “The Ellen Show” called “Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie,” the two have been correspondents for awards shows like the Grammys, MTV VMA and the Billboard Music Awards. Sophia Grace recently released a music video, and is reported to star in the movie “Into the Woods.”
The Annoying Orange
The web series started in 2009 and quickly became a hit online. Using YouTube as its communication platform, creator Dane Beodigheimer initially wanted to make just one video. But after viewers asked for more videos, he decided to make it a full length web series. The Annoying Orange now has more than 200 episodes on YouTube, while also having a TV series, a video game, toys and a clothing line.
The Annoying Orange is the perfect example of how to optimize YouTube not only for fame, but also for profit.
 
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Instagram Joins the Video-posting Trend

What do you call today’s generation? Generation X? Y? Gen Z? The generation of total narcism? The “Me” generation? While there may be some debate as to what this generation should be called, one thing is for sure – it will be something that hints on how self-consumed today’s youth are.
 
Not to put the young ones down ‘cause they may still be the future of “yesterday’s dream”, but it’s almost a no brainer that today’s youth love themselves… a little too much. Just think of everything that social media has been producing. Think of all the “selfies”, the tweets about what they’re eating, Facebook posts about what they’re doing – everything is all about them.
However, as to how and why we should address this issue is a whole different topic. One thing is for sure, this attitude of the youth is a great social media marketing opportunity.
There’s a range of social media platforms for your brand to take advantage of, and one of the newest additions to that is Instagram video.
Yes, you heard that right! The phenomenal image sharing website now allows its users to post short video clips.
“Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life. Until now these stories have been missing from Instagram,” Instagram wrote on its official blog. “Today, we’re thrilled to introduce Video on Instagram and bring you another way to share your stories.”
Now that you know can optimise the use of this new feature to best of your brand, here are a few things you should learn about this new communication platform:
•    You can only post short clips.  If you’re planning to post a movie’s length of video, Youtube is your best bet. But if you just want to capture a short but meaningful clip, Instagram can help your customer engagement.
“We’re excited to see what the community will bring to video, whether it’s your local cafe showing you how they made your latte this morning or an Instagrammer on the other side of the world taking you on a tour of their city, a mother sharing her joys in parenting as her children laugh and play or your favorite athlete taking you behind the scenes,” Instagram noted on its blog.
-    Video filters are also available. Instagram has been a constant part of the any site’s “Best Photo Editing App” list. Since its release in 2010, it has been known for its image filters that help make any boring photo look awesome. Now, it brings this feature to its video-sharing feature as well.
“You’ll also find that we’ve added thirteen filters built specifically for video so you can keep sharing beautiful content on Instagram. When you post a video, you’ll also be able to select your favorite scene from what you’ve recorded as your cover image, so your videos are beautiful even when they’re not playing.”
-    It offers a unique “Cinema Feature”.  Apple users will enjoy an exclusive Instagram Video feature that allows video stabilization.
“If you’re taking videos on the go, you might find that they’re a little shaky. For iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, we’ve built a Cinema feature that lets you stabilize your video after you take it.”
 
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Twitter Fever, Who is the Most Followed?

Twitter is undeniably one of the most popular social media sites today. While Facebook has been in the business much longer and may have more users than its rival, the fact is that the Twitter age has already begun and neither you nor Facebook can do anything about it.
 
Aside from being able to tap the demographic of immortals—that is celebrities, politicians and geniuses (Bill Gates?)—Twitter has also proven to be helping a brand grow faster than any other social media site. In a study made by Optimal, an analytics and social media marketing agency, big brands on social networking sites gain more growth on Twitter than its rival site—around 55% more. This alone shows you why you and your brand should join the Twitter fever.
Also, the social networking site has been a go to source of the latest in almost everything—latest news, latest trends and even latest rumors. With all these being said, Twitter seems to be a great inclusion into any brand’s digital marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, simply following these people could do wonders for your brand.
Barack Obama (@BarackObama)
The President of the United States of America is worthy to be followed, not only for his authority but for updates on what he’s been up to. With over 34.9 million followers, Mr. Obama is the fourth most followed account on Twitter.
Aside from using it for his election campaigns, the account has also been a site for the president to promote legislation, policies or to just hand around. And while most of the tweets posted on the account are from his staff, Obama also sends out a few personal ones. “Tweets from the President are signed –bo,” the account’s bio noted.
Twitter (@Twitter)
While we’re at it, you may want to follow Twitter’s account. The account keeps followers in-step with the newest updates and changes on the site, as well as news outside the Twitter realm. It even gives you tips on how to optimise the use of the site.
Twitter has over 22 million followers on its site and is the 11th most followed account.
Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah)
Remember those days when Oprah was the best show on TV? When Oprah was the source of entertainment, information and free stuff? Well, The Oprah Winfrey Show may have ended (after 25 seasons!) but it doesn’t mean she has stopped letting us know what the best of the best in everything is. Aside from the O Magazine, Oprah’s Twitter account has been an online platform for her to inspire, challenge, inform and explore with her more than 20 million followers, the 16th most on Twitter.
CNN Breaking News (@CNNbrk)
CNN has always been the most reliable source of news and information, now it brings its updates to Twitter. Aside from a number of other handles that tackle specific sections, like @CNN, @CrossfireCNN, @AC360 and @CNNSitRoom, CNN Breaking News sends out updates on headlining news straight from the CNN.com homepage. Be among its 12.6 million (35th most) followers and be in-the-know on the latest in news around the world.
 
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#Facebook Incorporates Twitter Features

 
It’s amazing how social media has become such a big part of our world. Even the simplest of things are now related to our online lives.
 
You’d be lying if you said you had never told someone to leave you a message on Facebook, or to tweet you rather than to text you, or to post a certain image on Instagram. Sad but true: today’s society relies heavily on different online platforms to communicate with one another, rather than doing it face-to-face. And while this may sound like a growing society of the internet dependent, this also means that social media marketing is the way to go. If you’re rich, or a hell-of-a-genius, you can go for the ultimate: create your own social networking site.
Remember the film “The Social Network”? Remember how the (uncertified) father of social networking Mark Zuckerberg started his little experiment? Yes, it started in his dorm room with a tiny computer and a magnitude of intelligence. Well, that’s how the movie showed it anyway. But look at Zuck now, he’s the bee’s knees! He’s got millions of friends and followers, at least on Facebook, and has billions of dollars in his pocket.
Interestingly however, Mr Facebook himself has also been in the business of copying ideas. Again, remember how he took the idea of the Winklevoss twins and made it his own? Well, Zuck didn’t end the copying there. In an effort to keep the $$ coming his way, he also copied ideas from other sites. His most recent and obvious replication: Twitter’s “Hashtag” feature.
What is a Hashtag?
For the easiest of definitions, a hashtag is a word or a phrase that is affixed with the pound sign “#”. It was first used in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) but has since grown in popularity after being used on Twitter.
Initially used as a form of metadata tag, much like SEO terms, it has now been used to tag and easily search for tweets on the same topic. Try searching for “#Google” on Twitter and you’ll find all tweets related to the subject with the same hashtag. You can also click on the hashtags and it will automatically redirect to a list of tweets that use the same tag.
However, since it grew in popularity, people have started using hashtags for almost everything. From tagging to becoming the word-form of emoticons (e.g. #FeelingHungry, #ForTheWin, #ImDead), to starting a movement or a revolution (e.g. #WeWantJustinBieberinBrazil, #LetsGoMiami). Actually, you can use hashtags for #AlmostEverything!
Facebook has now adapted the hashtag. In an effort to stir user engagement, the site announced to the world that these tags are now clickable on the site.
According to Facebook Project Manager, Greg Lindley “Starting today, hashtags will be clickable on Facebook…when you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and pages are saying about that event or topic.”
Mashable has also revealed that Facebook is working on the concept of Trending Topics, another unique Twitter feature. The networking site also incorporated the “@” mention system to its site, as well as verifying accounts which are all Twitter features.
Who knows what the site will be adapting next.
 
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What’s Next? A Double Major in Social Media?

Now schools have also noticed the importance of social media in our every day lives…
 
Social media…[sigh]…Where do we even begin to explain this phenomenon?   How did social networking become one of the main sources of information today?  How is it even possible that this simple mode of communication can make its way all over the world to be read by billions of people online?  Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if we know the answers to all these questions or not, it will still be the powerful communication platform that it is.
We can’t deny the fact that it is the digital age and social media is here to stay.  According to a May 2013 report by the Huffington Post, the top five social media sites alone have a combined 2 billion users.  Smartphone users check their Facebook status at an average of 14 times a day and 79% of them check their phones for social media updates within 15 minutes from the time they wake up.
This online platform is so strong that it is now also being considered a tool in the field of education.  A number of schools around the world have started to adopt this new technology into their curriculum, their method of teaching and their method of news dissemination.  A number of campaigns have also been pushing for the use of this platform around the world.  As a matter of fact, the same Huff report suggests that 80% of college faculty members use social media and 50% of professors use it in their classes.
Here are a few of the examples of how social media is being used in education:
Ngee Ann Secondary School Tweeting Answers
Singapore has grown to be an economic leader in South East Asia and as it embraces technology, the country’s government is looking into implementing social media in education.
Among the schools that already use this platform is Ngee Ann Secondary School.  In a report by Euro News, during one of the school’s math classes the teacher posts a question and asks the students to send her the answer via twitter in which she projects them on screen.  This form of online communication in schools is what the Singaporean government calls “future school.”
New York City’s Digital Literacy
As the social media continues to permeate the society, the city that never sleeps has also embraced the idea to optimise technology by relating it into education.
The New York City Department of Education has a new position called Director of Digital Literacy and Citizenship held by Lisa Nielsen. She is the very first person to hold the position. Asked what the nature of her work is, Lisa says:
“This year we are focused on helping teachers develop their own digital literacy. Next year, we’ll be focusing more on students interacting with each other online,” she told the Huffington Post. “I’m heavily involved in the use of social media and I’m not aware of other school districts who have a position like this.”
 
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