China has more online users than US has people

Chinese economy growth rate prediction have slowed(predicted growth for 2012 is between 7.5 to 7.9%), this however is still a growth compared to the rest of the World. Here it only makes sense to start understanding the Chinese market direction in terms of online and social media. Roughly 35% of the Chinese population are online – that is approx 450 million users – more than the US total population. (2011 figures)

The Chinese government still restricts the use of Facebook, Twitter and Google + in hopes to control the media messages which are being spread.

Social media sites to be aware off – very much active in China:

 Important Chinese Sites:

1. Weibo: The Twitter of China.


China blocked Twitter and other micro-blog technology ( in 2009 when riots started in the Western region ofXinjiang. The government could foresee Twitter enabling the revolutions we saw in the Middle East last year (by the way, Malcolm Gladwell, you were incorrect, the revolution was indeed tweeted). Weibo remains and is growing.  Interestingly enough, 140 characters maximum isn’t as limiting in Chinese as it is in English. Each Chinese symbol expresses so much more than each English character. Owned by publicly traded Sina Weibo means “microblog.”

2. RenRen: In 2006, Oak Pacific Interactive bought Xiaonei for around $4 million. It has since renamed it RenRen (in August 2009), which literally translates to “everyone.” With an estimated 120 million users, it is trying to become the Facebook of China. RenRen users are primarily high school and college students with Café Internet access.

3. Kaixin001: Literally means “happy” in Chinese. This social network is cleaner and has an older, white-collar demographic than its rival RenRen. Think Facebook (Kaixin) vs. MySpace (RenRen) circa 2007. Kaixin even has a knock-off of FarmVille called Happy Farm. Interestingly enough, users can use the same log-in to access RenRen and Kaixin001.

4. Youku and Tudou: Think YouTube/Hulu marriage. Less stringent copyright enforcement enables as much as 70% to be professionally produced (often pirated foreign content). This differs from American YouTube, which is dominated by shorter, user-generated videos. While Americans watch less than 15 minutes of YouTube videos per day, the youth in China spend up to an hour on these sites.

5. Taobao: “An online Walmart.” Popular among the youth of China. It is similar to eBay in that sellers offer used or new items either via an auction or fixed price. Most items are new merchandise sold at a fixed price. Started in 2003 by the Alibaba Group (partial Yahoo ownership), Taobao is closing in on 400 million registered users and has more than 800 million product listings. Large Fortune 500 companies have opened Taobao stores – finding it easier to sell their product here than on their company sites.

If you plan to do business in China, you will need to understand these social sites.  Get someone “in-market” (um and maybe a translator!) to assist you in setting up strategy and executing. While these sites appear akin to Western counterparts, they certainly have their own nuances.   The culture differs dramatically too.

With more consumers in emerging markets gaining access to computers, the internet and mobile devices, we’re set for an explosion in new digital devices where the developing world will definitely set the pace for the West.

The closest I’ve come to the whole China and social media experience is when I visited Guangzhou and was surprised that there was no Facebook access there. Even though my friend and I knew to expect it, it still came as a surprise. Just goes to show that we are completely not accustomed to this restrictional use of the internet at all. However, with all the economic growth happening in China at the moment, we might need to get used to using a Ren Ren instead.

Profile pic ideas anyone?


Social media and tech news

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog….

Seems my attention span has gone from focused to sporadic in a few months

With all the things that are happening in one’s life – how do you keep up with what’s hot in social media and the gadget world?

Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Mashable

This is the best site to re-tweet from, keep up to date and catch up on Social Media movement in seconds – also comes in a handy app for those on the go

2. TechCrunch

Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets! Awesome site to go to for all your techie needs! And now that technology and Social media is so intertwined, I figure – why not kill two birds with one stone? (Or lets not kill anything at all for that matter – lets programme it to do so for us)

3. Digital Buzz

New addition for me – really insightful. Shows off the best case studies in how to and what and who does it best …

4. Linkedin

Not just a useful social media tool for professionals, but also a great place to meet interesting like-minded people. The updates in headlines will feed your hunger for knowledge on the social movement with business goals in mind. Join a few groups and involve yourself in discussions. Interesting one to follow is the Social Media Marketing Group – daily updates and new discussion posts updated every day.

5. Last but not leaset –

Best TV, Print, Outdoor and Interactive as judged by a panel of those who know what works and guest judges from the industry.

If you have any out there sites/blogs you’d like to share – please do so as sharing is caring!

Telstra and the 3R’s in Social Media

It’s been interesting monitoring how the BIG companies out there do social media – they have the options of spending millions on Above the Line campaigns (TVC mainly), but choose to invest in social media with much smaller budgets more and more.

Here is what TELSTRA’s been up to lately:

They Launched the 3R’s of Social Media for the Telstra brand

The 3Rs in social media:

R #1: Represent

R#2: Respond

R#3: Respect


The main advise from Telstra’s head of communications is – Don’t overthink Social Media

Kristen Boschma, head of online communications and social media at Telstra, said organisations can spend too much time thinking about social media, which should complement, not replace, existing marketing activities.

In Kristen Boschma’s interview with Sky news business channel the reporter raised a few interesting questions. These are the questions and answers along the lines of what was discussed in the interview:

Q:Is Social Media used mainly to push conversations?

A: Push conversations occur mainly in traditional marketing such as TVCs, social media on the contrary is used to communicate with audiences. It is important to maintain a conversation and listen to what your consumers want.

Q: So what about negative comments? And can customers now complaints quicker on twitter?

A: Businesses need to manage both positive and negative comments with care. Social media is a post moderated arena where consumers can express all comments. Telstra’s customer service will respond to the customer service line or twitter but it doesn’t mean that complaints will be processed quicker on Twitter. That’s not the behaviour which is encouraged, its an interaction medium.

Q: Which social media platform is most effective?

A: It depends on your objectives as a business/brand. Mainly you need to maintain presense across all (Twitter/fb/you tube etc) and pull the right levers depending on what your objective is.

All the big companies in Australia are getting into social media even tough its hard to measure engagement or establish a direct ROI, still no one can argue that if a business chooses not to do social media they will miss out. Interesting space to watch for future developments ….

The future of TV in Social Media?

The future of TV is social and the revolution is coming !

Re-blogging via Digitalministry

Named last year as one of the ten most important emerging technologies by the MIT Technology Review social TV is fast rising as one of the hottest topics since group buying. But will social TV really live up to the hype? we take a look at what social TV is, what the main trends are shaping TV, the challenges and the opportunities going forwards for media companies, businesses and marketers

 Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol group the largest independent production company in the world responsible for Big brother said Social TV is going to be huge.

 “The ability to create content that will enable people to interface with each other, to connect, to recommend, to share and experience over television, is going to change the landscape of the industry.” 

What is social TV?

Simply put, it’s about merging your social media networks to the TV.  It’s making TV social–again. It’s about taking the water cooler effect and making this virtual, it’s about the empowered consumer viewing content when and where they want, deciding who they want to share it with and being able to do this all in real time.In essence it is a term that describes technology that supports communication and social interaction in either the context of watching television, or related to TV content.Viewers are now using social media to connect with the TV with content that matters to them. Then, as the MIT study shows, they are engaging in massive real-time conversations around those shows and learning to be a part of that conversation and it is a participatory culture as well as a personalised one.TV always been social and on the face of it TV and social media seem like a natural fit but if the TV industry is going to make the most of the opportunities it is going to have change quickly and learn the lessons of the music industry.

Social TV Figure
Figure 1 The Core elements of Social TV 

The Drivers shaping Social TV 

Whilst the rise of the web has heralded talk about the death of TV the convergence of internet & TV has meant quite the reverse where social media is directly contributing to a spike in TV ratings around events. Indeed some TV executives are crediting the power of social media as being instrumental in transforming ratings and TV as we know it now it. So what has changed?

1. The empowered consumer 

Perhaps the most important trend catalysed by social media is the need to share and contribute to the experience. People not only want to watch and consume, they actually want to actively connect to others while watching and be heard. They use their smartphones and tablets to share their thoughts and feelings on Twitter and their Facebook wall while watching TV, in preference to using their remote or SMS texting to vote in Live Talent shows. In essence viewers want to contribute, and have a bigger impact on the story than they have now?

Indeed a recent UK survey conducted by Digital clarity of mobile internet users below the age of 25 it was found that: Most use a mobile device to talk to friends about the show they are watching.The most common way to communicate is to use:

  • Twitter 72 %
  • Facebook 56%
  • mobile applications 34 %

Whilst 62 % of Social TV users like a combination of all three.The study also found that 34 % of respondents described the trend as “fun,and 32 % said it made television “more interesting” ,With 42 % mentioned the “community” aspect of Social TV. Indeed it is the younger generations that are driving the change turning TV programs into real-time online events which you have to watch as they happen to be part of the experience with your friends.  

Think TV (An initiative of Free TV Australia)

2. The adoption of the second screen 

Likewise in Australia a Nielsen Online Consumer survey of 5800 internet users said that 77% of respondents saying they “juggled at least 2 forms of media at once” especially the potent mix of TV & web (tablet, smartphone, laptop) When people did two-screen, 65 per cent said the internet had most of their attention, with only 14 per cent saying the TV did.

3. The Rise of Twitter TV

In recent months the rise of Twitter and TV has been quite staggering to the extent that I think it is fair to say that TV has a Synonymous relationship with Twitter whilst some commentators have gone a step further by crediting Twitter as redefining real-time TV. Not only does twitter allow you to get Instant feedback on shows but it allows the viewer to feel plugged in to the experience and be part of the conversation. 

James Franco, host of this year’s Oscars, put Twitter into overdrive for fans by tweeting before and during the show. Indeed during the 2011 Oscars, there were over 10,000 tweets per minute-with the event racking up 1.8 million tweets overall. Oscar hashtags such as #OscarsRealTime and #SatisfyingWin further extending the conversation.

Not to miss out on the action MTV brought back the Twitter tracker for this year’s MTV Movie awards (see below) parsing a barrage of tweets in real-time to come up with the top trends of the event, from the top actors and actresses to the most-talked-about movies… Throughout the broadcast, MTV plugged various hashtags to correspond with the moment, with #MovieAwards being the predominate theme.

MTV Twitter tracker

However it is not just the biggest blockbuster live-events where the numbers are always impressive but this water cooler effect has spread to other genres of shows that people care about. In a recent study into behaviour on Twitter by British content discovery company TV genius it was found that Over a six day period in the UK there were over 38,500 tweets about TV shows, with 90 different shows receiving more than a tweet a minute while they aired.

Clearly, many consumers have already bought into the idea of social TV – and are busy sharing what they love and hate on Twitter.One of the interesting facets the data reveals is that the show with the highest audience rating doesn’t always receive the most tweets. Twitter trends reveal shows that viewers wouldn’t necessarily know to watch.  But they may want to tune in if they know that there is an extra juicy episode of a soap playing or an interview generating lively debate.People are naturally curious and want to see what all the chatter is about. Channelling Twitter effectively could curate content discovery habits, encouraging viewers to tune into a programme they might not watch otherwise.

Twitter has also made itself a mainstay in the newsroom, often being the first to break news stories with over 77% of TV newsrooms now use twitter. In fact, many news channels use the videos and images shared by viewers on Twitter to add meaning to their reports. Indeed the integration of social media into the newsroom has taken a step further with the launch of Al Jazeera’s social media cantered program ‘the stream’ which is probably the most ambitious integration of Twitter into a news program to date.

According to Twitter’s Chloe Sladden ”What we’re seeing now is that Twitter is, in fact, about flocking audiences back to a shared experience, and that usually means a live one…If you’re not watching live — and reading the comments from friends, your favourite celebrities, and even total strangers via Twitter — you’re missing half the show.” Furthermore she says “In the future, I can’t imagine a major event where the audience doesn’t become part of the story itself.”

Considering using Twitter in connection to promote your TV program then check Digital agency WiredsetTwitter TV best practices below  

Twitter best practices

4. Facebook & Social TV

In recent months Facebook has made a big play for TV & Mark Zuckerburg Speaking at the EG8 technology forum in Paris recently said that TV, music and books are the next “media experiences” that will be revolutionized by social media. “I hope we can play a part in enabling those new companies to get built, and companies that are out there producing this great content to become more social”.

At MIPTV Facebook outlined four key ways that the platform can be used to encourage social TV behaviour:

4.1 Building TV communitiesTop Gear demonstrates how a TV show can successfully leverage Facebook as marketing and commercial vehicle. To guarantee conversation after each episode ends, Top Gear posts clips of the last episode on Facebook.  This reminds viewers about the highlights, and helps fans share and talk about each episode on Facebook. Additionally, Top Gear posts behind scenes video clips, making the fans feel part of a privileged community.  Top gear has also fully integrated social plugins to its site & one photo on the site received 10,000 likes.

4.2 Check-ins. Not to be left out on the hype attached to checking into shows along with Miso and Get Glue Facebook has also announced you can now check into your favourite TV show as well as places and with Top Gear for examples, a user would be able to see that actually ten of their friends are also watching Top Gear at the same and helps drive conversation.

4.3 Facebook EPG. Facebook could also provide a platform for a personalised electronic programme guide (EPG), complete with check-ins, reminders, personalised recommendations, and social integration. A social EPG could take the form of a Facebook app, check-in, or game.  Facebook would like to see the EPG featuring filters based on time, and personalisation based on the user profile.  For instance, the ability to browse EPG based on friends, like shows directly, and browse top ranked TV could prove compelling associate like with TV shows. The Facebook EPG would essentially act as a gateway to content discovery. By integrating social trends and friend’s preferences, users could discover new, relevant content.

10 Best Brands that DO social media well

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, its how well we do it – this was a key quote I got out of the Socialnomics book by Eric Qualman

Brands big and small, all had to change their strategy almost overnight to include a digital component and separate clauses for Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Websites, Blogs etc.

There are some who are still struggling, but more and more are doing it RIGHT

Here are the the highest ranking brands in social media and also my favs: (due to their ROI where social media cost is so low and viewership/usability is oh so high!)

1. Blendtec

This video is my least favourite, nevertheless I watched it a numerous amount of times along with 9.8MM other viewers

(To avoid shock and disappointment – they blended an iPHONE! and smoke actually came out!)


Result: 5 fold increase in sales just via short videos of “Will it Blend?” on You Tube featuring their CEO Tom Dickson

2. Burger King “Sacrifice”

Sacrificing 10 friends on FB never got you a free burger before Burger King’s “Sacrifice” app

Result: 200,000 friends were “sacrificed” and 20,000 users adopted the app, ticking off the viral status for BK

(The app got shut down for privacy concerns but BK got the BUZZ and the followers out of it!)

3.  Starbucks wants your ideas

My Starbucks Idea went out on a limb and asked you what you as a consumer think

You can post an idea on technology, food and of course coffee drinks, you can share on FB and Twitter and join discussions – basically its an awesome forum and Starbucks is hearing you and engaging you as a user – great social media implementation

Result: The Starbucks brand gives a personal touch to coffee and saves millions on market research

4. IBMer’s Blogs

IBM provides a platform for their PEOPLE to blog about anything they like, so there is a disclaimer that the views expressed are not necessarily representative of IBM, but thats great news! That means there is freedom of expression and thats what social media should be embraced for!

Result: A network of blogs created a higher hype than just one company/CEO blog and employee connection directly increased which is great news for IBM

5. on Twitter

Zappos leads the way in Twitter utilisation for retailers

They provide instant communication with clients and there is a mini blog which collects all the buzz and mentions that happen on Zappos Twitter page to interact with consumers on a daily basis.

Their unique proposition is that the CEO’s personality is the brand’s personality and people feel like they are chatting to a friends as oppose to a brand.

Result: Social media ingrained in corporate culture resulting in outstanding customer service and therefore following and sales

6.  Dell Dell Everywhere

Dell stepped in and didn’t just use one or two social media platforms. Dell uses them all and cross promotes across their entire network. This is the new way to ad block except you are actually engaging with users.

This is called a cross-platform community which includes multiple blogs, social media pages, mini blogs and Twitter handlers

Result: Dell’s social media efforts helped create $1 Million in Revenue

7. Home Depot – creating a HOW TO Community

The plan:  create the ‘hybrid’ job of social-media store associate to staff the How-To Community, open 7 days a week and complete with forums, project and buying guides, and the how-to blog.

  • select 25 selected associates work 2 days a week on social-media efforts, and 3 days a week in their existing store job
  • spend social-media days managing the How-To Community, answering questions, and creating content for use company-wide
  • social-media store associates get cool names like SteelToesChrisFixIt and THDiva, as reported by AdAge

The results:  How did this non-traditional social media team structure work for the brand?

  • 7 months after launch, the How-To Community is ‘exceeding benchmarks’
  • Nearly 2,000 topics have been started – some discussions have led to hundreds of posts
  • the volume of posts is so high that the corporate can’t review all content before it’s posted, though all posts are reviewed within 24 to 48 hours
  • the associates are creating content beyond the How-To Community and will soon begin contributing to the company blog, The Apron
  • the Home Depot Facebook page has over 350,000 fans
  • @HomeDepot has nearly 40,000 followers on Twitter
8. Old Spice on You Tube

Procter & Gamble‘s Old Spice was just another guy brand with an entertaining spokesman in its TV commercials until the brand’s agency, Wieden + Kennedy, put Isaiah Mustafa on the Web recently and invited fans to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to pose questions that he quickly answered.

Result: The questions poured in–even celebrities asked a few–and Mustafa responded in more than 180 Web videos shot quickly over a few days. The real-time effort was the first of its kind, but it won’t be the last.
9. Pepsi Refresh
 Pepsi went beyond itself and created the Pepsi Refresh project that focused on getting the global community to support and nominate projects that needed funding within their local communities. Participants could update videos and post pictures of different causes.

pepsi refresh 10 Best Social Media Campaigns

Result: This was a campaign that caused Pepsi to create a new identity while ensuring that they retained their youthful image.

10. VW Fun Theory

Volkswagen took the fun route to transform the subways in Sweden. It pained the staircases into a giant, functioning piano.

Result: Reports suggest that this resulted in 66% people using the stairs instead of escalators. This campaign was awarded a 2010 Cyber Grand Prix Lion at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

VW Fun Theory website has many other quirky campaigns: The Fun Theory


What is the best Social Media Campaign you’ve seen lately?

Share in the comments below…