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The latest ways you can leverage digital marketing

It wasn’t so long ago that marketing for most Australian businesses meant securing a spot in the phone book and a fraction of a column in the local newspaper.
Those with a healthy budget might have had a radio commercial and for the lucky few doing really well, even an ad on TV.
Today, successful marketing isn’t driven so much by the advertising dollar as it is by audience appeal, the right timing, solid strategy and sometimes, just a bit of good old fashioned luck.
Long gone are the days of weighing up the ROI of a ? vs ¼ page printed newspaper ad. When it comes to digital marketing, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s an all-encompassing blanket term for the new era of marketing, extending beyond merely advertising products and services, to focus on connecting and engaging with potential customers.
What that involves, and how to get it right, is unique to each and every industry. And the perfect mix differs for every company too.
Digital Marketing in Media
In fact, it’s the newspapers and media outlets we once relied so heavily upon for advertising, that have had one of the most radical and successful takeups of digital marketing we have seen in Australia to date.
Only it wasn’t so much a tactical decision as it was a necessary response to changing consumer trends.
Print newspaper circulation has been in decline across Australia for the past 10 years as more readers choose to go online for their news fix. The 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report reveals the number of Australians reading print newspapers each week has fallen 10% in the 12 months to November 2017, with 82% of Australians now using online news sources and 52% relying purely on social media to read the headlines.
It is here we have seen major growth in the media’s digital presence, with both national and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television news programs all using social media to publish, and now even live stream the news as it happens. This shift has not only changed the way the news is reported and received, inviting feedback and commentary from readers and viewers like never before, but has also paved the way for a new generation of exclusively digital news platforms such as the highly successful BuzzFeed and Pedestrian.TV.
Not surprisingly, advertising revenue from traditional media is in rapid decline, with newspapers dropping from 27% to just 14% of total ad spend since 2009. Meanwhile internet advertising has risen from 17% to 35% in the same period and is expected to account for at least 50% of total ad spend by 2019.
Despite the uptake of digital news, customers simply aren’t paying to get the news anymore. Most Australian newspaper websites feature a paywall and offer exclusive member-only content, but the Digital News Report shows only 10% of Australians are paying for online news content and most of those who haven’t paid for it, said it was ‘very unlikely’ they ever would.
This continues to be an ongoing battle for the media industry as it writes its new digital chapter.
Fashion, Food and Facebook
Small businesses were among the last to embrace the online marketplace. The potential for a customer base outside their immediate postcode was inconceivable, even laughable, for many.
But that soon changed.
Facebook in particular made an online presence affordable and feasible for businesses that had never even considered ‘going online’.
Now it’s the norm for your local corner store to be on Facebook, have a mailing list and even an online shop. Embracing these digital marketing platforms is what has transformed some small businesses into very big success stories, particularly those in the fields of fashion and food.
Women’s fashion store St Frock is just one stunning example, born from humble beginnings in 2005 as a weekend stall at the Bondi Beach Markets.
For four years, it was simply a relaxing escape from a high pressure job in PR and marketing for founder and fashion enthusiast Sandradee Makejev.
But in October 2009, Sydney was hit by a dust storm. That and predictions of increased rain had Sandradee thinking of other more weather-proof ways to sell her garments. Tired and weary from a hellish day at the markets, Sandradee set up a Facebook page, uploaded a few fuzzy photos, invited some close friends to check it out, and went to bed.
She woke to find she’d made $350 while she was sleeping. Within three months Sandradee had 1600 followers and enough income to quit her job, instead spending her weekdays packing orders on her bedroom floor. Within ten months, she was turning over $480,000 every four weeks.
Today St Frock, the former hobby market stall, is an international online fashion boutique with a bustling team of 35 staff, a 500-square metre warehouse in Ultimo and close to 500,000 followers on Facebook from all over the globe.

Corporates, Commercial & Professional Services
If a market stall can find fame on Facebook, anyone can right? That’s the false impression too many businesses have about digital marketing. It’s not a sure thing, it isn’t easy (well not often anyway) and there are no guarantees.
What works brilliantly for one business, won’t work at all for the next. And knowing which digital marketing platforms to employ, and when, requires careful consideration and skill.
Ultimately it’s about delivering what your audience wants, preferably before they even ask for it. This has seen many corporates, commercial ventures and professional services alike offer practical digital tools like client portals, apps and live chat services, as well as audience capture and engagement methods like blogs and content marketing, EDM and e-newsletters, and audio or video presentations now commonly distributed through social media and live streams.
It is within this sector we tend to see the greatest variations of success using digital marketing. There is a sense that many are still testing the waters with a hit and miss approach to finding what works for them and their target audience. But it’s important to remember every adventure on those ‘waters’ is embarking on unpredictable and unchartered territory.
This promo video of a government agency grad program is a prime example. The so-bad-it’s-good video has been viewed over 200,000 times since capturing the attention of the internet recently, with viewers shocked at how three minutes of corny scripting and forced acting could cost $40,000 to make. But, with the digital world being the unpredictable and ironic beast that it is, the value of the media exposure the clip has received means it has already more than paid for itself.
Image Sources:

Digital News Report 2018
Pixabay
Wikimedia

The Latest Social Media Fails

There’s one big flaw that all brands have that no one likes to talk about: they’re run by fallible, emotional and sometimes careless human beings.
Every once in a great while, these humans make mistakes—they slip up all too publicly on their brands’ social media properties.
When this happens, most us watch the disaster unfold with bewilderment at the stark stupidity of it all. While these mistakes often create backlash for brands, and sometimes a bit of recovery work, they’re not necessarily the end of the world. Having said that, it may be the end of the career line for the people who caused the problem/s in the first place.
In the interest of learning from the mistakes of others, following are some of the worst social media fails of the last 12 months:
Total Beauty: Confusing Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg
Total Beauty made a pretty serious social media faux pas when they confused two hugely popular African American female celebrities; Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg.
Both are not people whose bad side you want to be on, and the brand may have done so when they praised Oprah Winfrey for having tattoos while it was in fact Whoopi Goldberg in the picture.
To make matters worse, the tweet was released during the Oscars, meaning that Total Beauty not only received the attention of the fans of both women, but of all the viewers tweeting about the Oscars that night.
To their credit, they reacted quickly, taking down the photo as soon as they could and apologised for the misstep.
 
ALDI: Inciting Negative Responses
ALDI Australia didn’t offend other people, but they did accidentally incite others to upload questionable content on their Twitter page. The popular discount retail outlet wanted to run a campaign that would prompt their customers to post positive memories about shopping at Aldi.
After the ‘Fill in the blank’ tweet went live, Aldi received many distasteful responses, with people filling in the blank with offensive imagery like diarrhoea, poison, and many other less pleasant responses.
Fortunately, Aldi quickly stopped the campaign.
Key learning: consider all possible outcomes – negative and positive – when palnning you next social media campaign. Remember, consumers are not constrained by policy, guidelines and corporate imperatives like you are.
Coca-Cola: Released the Wrong Russian Map
The biggest social media rule is the one that always seems to be broken the most: do your research.
In this case, Coca-Cola incited a #BanCocaCola hashtag after they published an ad with the wrong map of Russia.
When you take a closer look, the map is outdated. It doesn’t include Kaliningrad, which was annexed after World World II. Russian patriots were not happy with the ad, and began posting pictures of themselves pouring Coca-Cola into toilets. Ouch.
Seoul Secret: White Skin Helps You Win
There are times when you just scratch your head and wonder what a brand’s marketing/social media department was thinking. This is one of those times.
Beauty brand, Seoul Secret ran an incredibly inappropriate campaign, that basically implied that one of their models was more successful because she has white skin.
To make matters worse, the campaign was called “White Makes you Win”. What was it promoting? Skin lightening cosmetics.
Seoul Secret tweeted about their campaign and included a video of Thai actress and singer Cris Horwang.
In the video, she spoke about her career and made direct comments about her white skin and why it has made her more successful than others.
Seriously.
Most brands fear social media mistakes like the ‘Wrong Russia’ one made by Coca-Cola. Taking it to a whole new – and worse – level is running a blatantly racially offensive campaign. Imagine having to clean up that marketing mess.
There is Life After a Social Media Fail.
While these social media fails were clearly a headache for these brands, you shouldn’t panic if you should stumble into/create a social media firestorm.
The best way to recover from a social media campaign that has gone wrong is to act quickly, apologise (invariably) and show that you’re genuinely trying to fix the mess. A good social media strategy is all about planning and balancing sensitivity with common sense.
If having a successful social media program is something you’re worried about, speak with a social media expert about how to do it right; and what to do when things go wrong.
Tick Yes is a digital and social media marketing agency based in Sydney that uses proven social media strategies to help clients improve their brand. For more information on how we can help manage your social media strategy, contact us.

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand.
By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend.
We have tips to help you optimise each of the most popular channels draining your media budget. One tip is important for all of them:
Stay in control of budgeting and targeting. If you’re new to a channel, keep watch on your audience and don’t scale until it’s profitable.
Here’s how you’re going to achieve better results without breaking the bank, and figure out the right time to scale for each campaign.
 
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads are considered a staple in the marketing world – simply because they work.
A recent study shows that integrating SEO efforts results in a 25% increase in clicks and a 27% increase in profits. Because of this, marketers are increasing their spend in SEO.
According to MarketingProfs, nearly half of digital marketing budgets are spent on search, with 31% on paid search and 18% on SEO. U.S. spend alone will top $45 billion by 2019.
If you’re one of those marketers spending nearly half of your budget optimising for search, measuring success by click isn’t going to be enough.
#1 SEO Tip – Always run campaigns with conversion tracking.
You’ve got to know what happened after a prospect clicks. If it led to a product purchase, then which keyword, ad group or campaign triggered the conversion? Conversion tracking will show you which ones are – and are not – worth bidding on.
 
Ad Retargeting
Search engine marketing (SEM) retargeting means targeting website visitors who did not convert yet, often through a third-party vendor. It’s effective, but is an area where media spend can get out of hand.
Research showed 56% of customers retargeted after visiting the cart, didn’t want to make an immediate purchase. Marketers then invest in bringing them back to the cart – what a waste.
In fact, over two-thirds of visitors who intend to make a purchase never make it to the checkout cart. This suggests that marketers are failing to create campaigns that are tailored to visitor intent.
# 1 Ad Retargeting Tip – Use conversion analytics to figure out customer intent – specifically, why some customers aren’t completing their checkout, or converting.
Once you identify the group that doesn’t have the intent to convert, you can stop spending your budget retargeting them, and reallocate to maximise results from those that do.
 
Content Syndication
Content syndication packages can be highly effective if you’re generating top-quality content, but are hard to pin down in a budget since pricing packages vary widely depending on the media outlet you’re syndicating with.
They’re very effective for generating leads, as according to Inc, 70% of people want to learn about products through content versus through traditional advertisements.
The trick to reducing your syndication spend is to be very picky when choosing media outlets.
#1 Content Syndication Tip – Focus on the right media outlets, and once you find them, don’t keep spending if you’ve stopped seeing a return.
Keep an eye on results from certain media outlets, and continue reallocating budget to those performing best.
 
Social Media Ads
In 2015, global analysts predicted a 33% increase in spending for social media ads. This is because over 50% of (business-to-business) B2B marketers rank social media as a “very” or “somewhat” low cost ad option.
Social media can be low cost, and can drive unprecedented amounts of engagement if targeted correctly. Avoid this one common mistake – spreading your budget across every social media channel out there.
#1 Social Media Ad Tip – Choose the right social media platform.
Which platform is converting the most leads? As an example, a bakery is going to perform much better on Pinterest than the latest cloud security software.
 
The key to reducing your media spend while increasing your results is to find where your audience wants to see you the most. With robust conversion tracking and by following industry best practices, you can make your marketing budget stretch farther than you ever thought you would.
 
Image: Shutterstock Australia
 

Why Email Marketing Runs Rings Around Social Media

Just like the fashion trends, marketers tend to change their mind about email marketing, particularly when it’s compared to social media.
It’s a case of: RIP email marketing. Wait, it’s alive! No, it’s actually dead. Hold your horses, it is ALIVE! What’s going on?
As a team that works with email marketing every day, we believe quality engagement and sales leads can still be generated through email. As long as it’s done well, of course.
I know what you’re thinking, how dare I turn my nose up at social media; it’s the way of the future, it’s going to solve world hunger and have your babies! It will wake you up with a skinny latte every morning.
Don’t get me wrong; social media can be an important part of your marketing if it makes sense for your business. But don’t put it ahead of email marketing.
Where’s the Proof?
You want evidence that email marketing is the digital performance king? Here are a few figures:

Email marketing acquired 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).
72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media (Marketing Sherpa).
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social (Monetate).
For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI (Campaign Monitor).

More Numbers
Picture a full cup of rice as the number of emails sent out every day. In comparison, daily posts on Facebook and Twitter would be just ten miserable grains. That’s because email has almost three times as many user accounts than all social media channels combined (MailMunch). That’s 2.9 billion emails all up.
In the same breath, every single web search made on every search engine every single day is just 1/100th of daily email traffic.
Too many marketers are too busy chasing the latest Google algorithms and keyword magic bullets that they’ve neglected their email marketing strategy.
Quality Over Quantity
You’ve now seen email’s reach and the amount of traffic it has compared to social media platforms. If you’re thinking traffic doesn’t mean much and a small quantity of well-targeted marketing aimed at quality traffic will nail larger amounts than a couple of hundred shotgun pellets sprayed at random; you’re right. That is precisely why email trumps social media for quality and quantity.
MailMunch compared the performance of email and social media marketing in an interesting way. Let’s assume you have 2,000 people on an email database, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter. Based on industry averages, this is the exposure/engagement your target market would have with your messages:

435 people will open your email
120 of your Facebook fans will see your update
40 Twitter followers will see your tweet

But it gets worse. Here are the average click rates by channel:

Email marketing: 3.57%
Facebook: 0.07%
Twitter: 0.03%

Email is Personal
You thought Facebook was the most personal medium? Think again.
First, consider the above stats and comparisons. Second, the majority of people don’t go to Facebook for 1-on-1 online conversations; they open their emails.
The inbox is like the Holy Grail – people guard it highly and once someone allows you access it means that they’re interested in you or your offering on some level.
Email Gets More Attention Per Customer
You are more likely to get face-time with your leads if you use email, not because they’re hanging around their inboxes more than their Facebook pages or searching Google, but because email makes room for repeated contact.
In fact, it’s ‘invasive’ contact. It’s right in their mailbox, and that’s very different from posting a status update or tweeting which can get lost in the tsunami of online content.
Provided your content is worth reading, your customers and prospects are more likely to take a minute to open that email.
Email is a Transactional Medium
People expect to receive offers in their inbox, so their tolerance levels are a little higher than on social media where they just want to be, well, social.
Through email, you can train customers to expect offers from you while imparting value and positioning yourself as a thought leader. In turn, customers will start to look forward to receiving your emails.
And since you can make unlimited contact with them over time, you are significantly more likely to catch them when they are ready to buy.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Latest Social Media Stats for Marketing

We’ve looked at some of the most recent studies on social media topics and trends and picked out our most surprising and revealing ones that all businesses should be aware of. Let us know if you find any other good ones.

Worst Digital Marketing Advice We’ve Ever Heard

“Be controversial to get traffic to your site.”
Sometimes, controversy can be a good thing. You can get people talking about your brand and gain more recognition. However, trying to be controversial is essentially playing with fire. It is so easy to stray a little too far into the controversy and have the whole thing blow up in your face. Also, it is almost impossible to sustain controversy for too long, and a digital marketing plan is one thing that needs to be sustainable.
“Don’t worry if you mess up. Just delete it.”
In the new age of the Internet, deleting something is incredible difficult. If you make a negative comment or a poor joke online, everyone can see it immediately. Even if you delete it as soon as you realise your mistake, thousands of people could already have seen it and they can share it with many more. Some people think the best advantage about the Internet is how quickly things can spread, but in some cases this can also be the greatest disadvantage.
“It doesn’t matter what you post about, just post as often as possible for new traffic.”
Although posting often is a good thing, if what you post is lousy or boring, it will not help your business get found online. You may get a lot of traffic early on, but readers will quickly get tired of sub-par posts and leave your site for good. This is a common mistake and all businesses should live by the recognisable saying “quality over quantity”.
“Establish a presence everywhere.”
There are SO many social networks and other ways to market you business online that it is almost impossible to be everywhere. The key is to focus on a few popular options and use them dedicatedly. Spending your time marketing on 10-15 different networks takes time away from doing other important things for your business. By focusing on the most important networks, you can effectively market your business without spending too much time managing profiles or updating information.
“Dealing with comments is hard, so it’s better to just disable comments altogether.”
Of all they bad advice out there, this one definitely takes the cake. First of all, people are going to express their opinions in other ways if they cannot comment. They will go on social media or other platforms, which makes it harder for you to manage the conversation. In addition, disabling comments makes you look like a company that is unable to deal with reality. Comments are supposed to help you to know what your readers are looking for. Comments could give you new ideas that help you grow and attract new customers. And yes, negative comments can be difficult to deal with. Readers can complain or unjustly criticise your company, making it hard to respond without hurting yourself. The best way to do this is just to be honest and genuine with your readers. Do your best to answer them if they have questions or help them if they have complaints, but the worst thing you can do is to not let them comment at all.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

The Essentials of Social Media Marketing

The devil is in the detail when it comes to social media marketing. A small mistake can become a big one and may risk you losing everything you have worked so hard for.
So how do successful business owners use social media to promote their business?
1.    Website link. Social media is a communication platform. It allows you to directly interact with your target clientele. So, you’ve got the Facebook and Twitter page, what do you do with it? Keeping it updated with the latest about the business would be great but forgetting to add the website link is like asking your clients to look for a needle in a haystack. Make it easy for them to find you with a website link at the end of every post.

2.    Targeting campaigns to a specific audience. Targeting and re-targeting are smart tools in content marketing. Doing so will help small businesses on Facebook and Twitter to keep track of specific leads that could be helpful to the business. Targeting content can turn potential customers to real paying ones in a snap.
3.    Exert effort on social media. How many social media pages do you have? If you think having all of them and being active in all is the secret to your success, you remain uneducated. Social media marketing is about keeping one or two social media pages and working hard on building readership and following in these areas. You can expect higher engagement at relatively affordable costs.
4.    Email marketing rules. Email marketing may seem like old hat for this generation of digital natives but its ability to form one-on-one connections with clients still keeps it in the top spot in your social networks. The likelihood of your emails being read is high IF the subject line is compelling and the content relevant and engaging. When read, the chances of email content being shared in Facebook or Twitter is very high too, which of course is good for business.
5.    YouTube is still an online strategy. Don’t underestimate YouTube because the suggested videos on its sidebars are as good as the ads that you pay for in websites. Make your own videos today and start sharing them on YouTube. Be the expert that you are. Share videos that show your expert how-to’s which potential consumers might find too interesting to share or better yet, they might be entertained by it. Winning their heart is always the best way to go.
6.  Content marketing always lends itself to small-scale or large-scale business owners. It’s the one strategy that any kind of business can use. Like all of those I have mentioned, this digital strategy thrives in originality and details.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
 
 

The Anti-Texting Bear

What does it take to get people to forget about their smartphone for a moment? Mashable’s Sam Laird thought long and hard about this while visiting “South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival” (SXSW) and came to an interesting conclusion; it involves hugs and a man in a bear suit.
You’re not alone if you ever shook your head at all those souls slowly being consumed by the online world. Maybe you blogged about it, maybe you tweeted or posted a snide comment on Facebook via your smartphone, unaware that you’re in fact one of those lost souls. Nowadays it’s a natural motion – walking, eyes down and smartphone in hand – as if part of evolution. We’re not even aware that we’re doing it.

 
Sam Laird came to another conclusion as well. The same as blogger Jamie Krug, who went on a social media free vacation with her family, realising that she started living for her loved ones rather than for the online community. You miss a lot when living through your smartphone. Krug speaks of an obsession with constant status updates – not for our own sake, but for the sake of others, your followers and friends. At the same time, we lose the moment that was subject to our attention in the first place, that sliver of beauty in our everyday, real lives.
Social media is a great invention – as a way to keep in touch, as a creative outlet, as a productivity tool. But in the end of the day, it’s just that; a tool. In the business world, social media marketing is an integral part of the marketing mix, having clearly shown that’s a great way to create brand awareness, get a product out there, it’s one of many puzzle pieces in growing a business. Social media will not solve all the problems in the world, but it’s a stepping stone towards real life solutions. Everything in moderation, as always.
So how did the visitors to SXSW react to that bear looking for human warmth? From the look of it, it was a welcome distraction and maybe they even got a glimpse of the actual event.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image & video courtesy: dailyscene.com, Youtube; Mashable

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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Image courtesy: techcrunch.com, techrice.com, blog.bluemarkets.es, techinasia.com, telegraph.co.uk