By Sinead O’Connor
This week saw Social Media Week hit London. And what a week it was.
I found myself on Monday morning, bright and early at The Royal Institute of Great Britain for a session on ‘What’s next for brands’.
Hosted by Battenhall, we were presented with the findings from a recent report examining the FTSE 100’s social activity. Taken through the good, the bad and the ugly, I was pretty surprised with just how many brands are getting it wrong.
Some of the stats:
• 88 of the FTSE 100 companies Tweet – which means that 12 of them don’t
• Only 27 have verified accounts
• 28 of them have over 10,000 followers and just five have over 100,000
• Burberry is ruling the roost with a massive 2.1m followers (they even got given the new iPhone for London Fashion Week, ahead of launch to test out the latest video functionality)
• 19 of the ‘active’ companies have not tweeted in the last month
• 8 of the companies that are on Twitter have never actually Tweeted
But what are the big brands actually using Twitter for? According to Battenhall, the top 6 are:
• Community management
• Customer service
• Corporate communications
• Investor relations
As we already know, social is changing how companies communicate and is shifting the focus from ‘traditional PR’ to true influencer engagement. “Economists with a big Twitter following are now more influential than the ones on the Today Programme” said the host. “Brands are finding out who, when they say something online, affects share price.” And that’s pretty powerful.
So what we’ve all been waiting for – what is next?
1. Twitter goes full circle
Have you heard of ‘Gen C’? According to Google, “Gen C is a powerful new force in consumer culture. It’s a term we use to describe people who care deeply about creation, curation, connection and community. It’s not an age group; it’s an attitude and mindset defined by key characteristics.”
We used to live by the 1:9:90 internet culture rule – 1% create content, 9% interact and 90% ‘lurk’. Well things are changing. 1% is now 80% - content really is king and Twitter really is the next big thing.
2. A life logged
Do you have Nike Fuel Band, a Fitbit or a Jawbone? If you’re anything like us you do. If you don’t now then you very well may in the not-too-distant future. Smart connected devices are big and changing how we use the media. According to the host, there will be 24 billion in the coming years. Brands can already listen to what we say but will soon be able to listen to what we do.
3. Social is data driving businesses
Revolutionising social data is Tesco. Its ‘Home Plus virtual subway store’ in Korea has really taken social data by storm by encouraging commuters to buy products through their mobile when waiting for their trains by building virtual aisles on the platforms. Check out what Wired had to say about it when it launched in 2011.
4. Hacker culture
“Pretty much every big media company in the past 6 months has been hacked” we’re told. But it’s the companies that are embracing hacker culture that are really excelling. Hackathons, for example, are growing in popularity by the day; O2 and Telefonica teamed up earlier this month to present Campus Party, bringing together 10,000 people from all over Europe; Starbucks has ‘mystarbucksidea’ and Dell has Ideas Storm. We’ll be seeing more of this as companies turn hacker culture into a positive for the brand.
5. Single purpose apps
The 7 next big social networks, according to Battenhall, are apps that do one thing, but do it really well. Here’s the list:
We wrapped up with a quote from the FT’s Tim Bradshaw: “Single purpose apps are the future. Photos are the atomic unit of social networking.”
Some great food for thought.