Opinion|Social Media

Top 10 takeaways from The Social Dilemma

the social dilemma

If you haven’t seen this doco yet… I highly recommend you do.

Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma is a documentary-drama hybrid streaming on Netflix that features the voices of technologists, researchers and activists who have played a significant role in creating social media giants including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram to name a few. This doco is their attempt to raise awareness about the growing data privacy concerns, the misuse of our information and behaviour on social media – all for profitability.

Here’s how the people who help build these social media giants use (and recommend using) these platforms. I’ve put together a list of 10 tips that they share in The Social Dilemma.

Top 10 takeaways from experts

  1. Uninstall apps from your phone that end up wasting your time. Turn off notifications on any app that demands your attention like social media apps and news apps.
  2. Turn off notifications.
  3. Recommend switching from Google search engine to Qwant, a search engine which doesn’t store your search history.
  4. Never click on the video recommended to you on YouTube. Always choose. There are several chrome extension to remove recommendations.
  5. Reduce the number of notifications you receive on your phone.
  6. Before you share, fact check. Consider the source. Do that extra Google. If it seems like its designed to really push your emotions, then it probably is.
  7. Make sure you get lots of different kinds of information in your own life. Follow people who you don’t necessarily share the same views with. So that you are exposed to different points of view to avoid unintentionally being in an echo-chamber.
  8. Notice that people in the tech industry don’t give these devices to their own children.
  9. 3 simple rules for kids:
    • All devices out of the bedroom at a fixed time
    • No social media until high school
    • Work out a time budget with your kid(s)
  10. And of course, to those who can… Delete your social media accounts

“We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we’re spending that time living our life in a rich way.”

“We’re seeing corporations using powerful artificial intelligence to outsmart us and figure out how to pull our attention for the things they want us to look at rather than things that are most consistent with our goals, our values and our lives.”

– Justin Rosenstein, Co-Founder of Asana and One Project; Former engineering lead at Facebook; Former product manager at Google

Marketing Communications|Social Media

Three-way conversation: Brands, consumers, and potential consumers

three way conversation brands consumers

It was 2009 when I came across CNN iReport asking people to ‘tell their stories and discuss the issues that are important to them’. This was the first time I was introduced to the concept of a brand prompting its users to create content for them. Whether the brand would use the content and how they would use it, however, was completely up to them. But, there I was, ready to share my perspective in form of pictures and stories.

From a one-way conversation to a two-way conversation

We’ve come a long way from a non-interactive one-way communication approach adopted by brands to connect with their audiences. It’s been a heavy shift to make – from brands dictating trends through traditional platforms like press releases and print advertisements – all the way to brands encouraging customers to create content that they can leverage for their own brand authenticity.

This significant shift from brands creating an unattainable ‘aspirational imagery’ to be more approachable has everything to do with how important it is to have substantial customer conversations today. Better yet, brands need a purpose and a consumer-focused strategy to fix an identified issue – whatever that may be. How is this being achieved? With the help of User-Generated Content. Once brands started moving towards a two-way communication strategy with their customers, the quality of customer lifecycle and loyalty to the brand has been given way more emphasis.

It’s all about consumer behaviour. Brands don’t spend thousands of dollars or even millions just to get that one transaction. Today, brands focus on the customer’s post-purchase journey.

Three-way conversation between brands, consumers, and potential consumers

Having spent the last few years monitoring the world of marketing, a three-way conversation is on the rise. Its been proven that two-way conversations are a fantastic way to engage with customers since it results in ‘highly personable and almost natural interactions’ with the brand. Now, brands are beginning to use this conversational approach integrated with UGC to further attract potential customers.

A brand that instantly comes to mind is Rihanna’s Fenty that launched a couple months after Kim Kardashian brands made headlines in 2017. Note that Fenty Beauty is currently on all social media giants: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

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Simply put, Fenty Beauty’s use of UGC projects authenticity and has led a to higher engagement rate when compared to its tough competitors. Not only is its content strategy on point with a clear message that resonates with a lot of people – a cosmetic line for ‘any culture, any skin tone, any race, any religion, anybody can wear it’ – its strategic use of UGC (with a super glam exclusive hashtag #rihgram) gives new life to the brand’s overarching message. No wonder, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has earned even more attention on social media than giants like Kylie Cosmetics and Kim Kardashian’s KKW Beauty. Leveraging fan-made content – essentially word-of-mouth in this day and age – and strategically customizing it with the knowledge of content strategy, brands can reach their full potential to not only establish loyalty in customers, but also reach new customers.

It takes customers a few minutes to give feedback on products they use, and brands are recognizing this. Chief marketing officer at Foreo, a company that makes beauty devices adds that “brands now build a following based on reviews and comments”. In fact, recent research reveals that customers who engage with UGC are more than twice as likely to make a purchase than their peers.

It’s not just cosmetic brands, a major reason for the fast expansion of K-pop’s fandom is because of how Korean agencies have repurposed fan-made content like compilation videos, vlogs, fancams and reactions to create a sense of anticipation, competition and needless to say, engagement among its fans. Today, how brands want customers to engage with them is changing. Brands of all sizes are experimenting with the way they want to create and use three-way conversations by integrating it with their marketing campaigns – all to reach their potential stakeholders.

Opinion|Social Media

Breaking The Menstruation Taboo – Why India needed a ‘marketing gimmick’

breaking Menstruation Taboo

Flashback to seventh grade.
We were told Whisper was coming to school and there was going to be a talk about menstrual health. I personally thought this was a great opportunity to learn more and ask questions from health experts about the monthly cycle. Boys were obviously assigned to “two sports” periods while the girls went to this secret seminar.

This is about fifteen years ago, at a well-known school in Noida.

From a hush-hush topic to the PadMan movement where celebrities, regardless of their gender, are publicly posting a picture of them with a pad in their hand – this is an imperative movement giving a chance to Indians to be more mature about women’s health.

When I first saw the trailer for PadMan, I felt a mix of emotions. Growing up in a country where when I used to go to the chemist to buy sanitary pads, I’m handed over to – either wrapped in a brown paper bag or an otherwise-never-seen black plastic bag. I wondered why. Over years of confusion and guessing, I realized girls were meant to hide these sanitary pads from everyone. This included friends, family and let’s not forget – anyone else standing around the chemist at the time of purchase.

akshay kumar
Picture courtesy: Instagram.com/akshaykumar

PadMan, is not only a movie openly discussing pads – it is being done so by a huge artist. Unfortunately, in a country with 74% literacy, where we claim to be forward thinking in many ways – Bollywood influences the masses more than it should.

(more…)

Social Media

The Rapid Evolution Of Digital Advertising

evolution digital advertising

Digital advertising has come a long way

With over 16 million internet users in 1995, Yahoo, one of the first famous web services providers, was the first to introduce search ads. A couple of years later, Google developed AdWords and the digital advertising boom became inevitable. Attempting to be non-intrusive and at the same time efficient, by mid-2000s social media channels were outsmarting each other by coming up with innovative ways to integrate ad content. But it was only a matter of time before digital ads became less productive and more annoying.

The evolution of digital advertising is evident on Facebook where it was introduced in the form of small display ads, and eventually evolved into very specific ads targeting users according to their interests and demographics. Over the past couple of decades, like its state on Facebook, digital advertising has been dwindling between either fewer but more tailored ads or more ads in general. Unfortunately, rarely do ads reach the right person at the right time. Because digital ads are increasingly looking to ‘get noticed’, they often come across as intrusive. In fact, Modal ads, ads that reorganize content, and autoplaying video ads are among the most disliked. It’s no wonder that ads are now deemed creepymanipulative, and misleading. Additionally, as a whole, web usability has improved over these past several years, but ad blocking has grown by 41% in just 2015.

It’s getting harder to capture the attention of audiences and engage with them using different digital advertising approaches. Several companies have already started investing in innovative advertising techniques and content-led marketing strategies. While native advertising is one of many strategies that companies are open to exploring, the future of digital advertising might just be AR and VR integrated advertising. Digital advertising is evolving faster than most companies can keep up and the industry is moving towards adopting strategies that aren’t invasive – rather immersive.

advertising

Digital advertising isn’t restricted to the traditional two-dimensional display anymore.

In the recent few years, companies have started focusing on building their brand story by providing customers with unique experiences through Augmented Reality (AR).

By integrating a virtual element to their digital advertising tactics, brand giants are not only captivating the attention of a wide range of consumers – from kids and millennials to baby boomers – but also allowing its audience to view a richer, more detailed advertisement, making it possible for customers to virtually experience products – something that was never possible before.

Bringing in experiential interactions with its customers, AR is changing the way customers engage with brands.

While we’re on the topic of immersive storytelling medium, Virtual Reality (VR) deserves more than a mention. The reason VR is a more engaging, immersive approach than AR is because it makes users feel like they’re really somewhere else. Since digital advertising is all about grabbing its target audiences’ attention, virtual reality is a winner. On the other hand, advertisers are still experimenting with this new technology. Even though a recent study revealed that 74% consumers find VR ads less intrusive than other digital ad types, it might only be a matter of time that VR turns into another unwanted digital advertising technique. Another reason for delay among advertisers to adopt VR into their digital advertising strategies is the significant investment required to create a VR campaign.

It’s true that most companies are still spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in content creation and conventional display ads – reluctant to experiment with AR and VR. There is still a lot to learn from several AR and VR integrated advertising campaigns produced by brand giants and advertisers are catching up. Very soon, digital advertising will be synonymous with immersive technology that opens up a branded world for its customers to explore and manipulate.