Friday, 30 January 2009

Top 100 Social Media Brands

Ive been searching for this for ages; a list of the biggest brands making the most of social media. It has been compiled by Vitrue and posted on their blog.

The list includes all the names that you would expect (Apple, Disney, MTV) and heavily features all American brands. I don't have a problems with this. After all, the worlds biggest brands are from the USA as are the worlds biggest social media brands (Digg, Facebook, Techcrunch). I'm not sure whether Vitrue chose which brands they wanted to monitor (include list) or monitored different social media channels to find the most talked about? Surely brands who's demographic are also the bulk of social media users will be the most talked about? Brands whose target market is the over 5o's will never have as much online chatter about them but surely this doesn't make them any less of a brand? They say "We apply a series of algorithms to reflect the frequency of usage, the size of the social media environment, and the magnitude of the conversation. The result is a single numeric score for each brand: the Vitrue Social Media Index (SMI)."

I'd like to have actually seen each brand's SMI. Crucially, we don't know if this is positive or negative chatter which only adds to the slight ambiguity of this study. See my post on Buzzdaq which was an attempt to dynamically monitor brand names. However everyone likes a good list and this one has been a long time coming.

Enough already - heres the list (top 50) - For the full top 100 visit Vitrue

For more insight read Adage's blog

  1. iPhone
  2. CNN
  3. Apple
  4. Disney
  5. Xbox
  6. Starbucks
  7. iPod
  8. MTV
  9. Sony
  10. Dell
  11. Microsoft
  12. Ford
  13. Nintendo
  14. Target
  15. PlayStation
  16. Mac
  17. Turner
  18. Hewlett-Packard
  19. Fox News
  20. BlackBerry
  21. ABC
  22. Coke
  23. LG
  24. Best Buy
  25. Honda
  26. eBay
  27. Sharp
  28. Lincoln
  29. NBA
  30. Pepsi
  31. General Motors
  32. McDonald's
  33. General Electric
  34. Walmart
  35. NFL
  36. Mercedes
  37. BMW
  38. Samsung
  39. Nike
  40. Subway
  41. Dodge
  42. Pandora
  43. CBS
  44. Mercury
  45. NBC
  46. Disneyland
  48. Toyota
  49. Cadillac
  50. Chevy

social media blog

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Flick on Radio1 and its not long before you hear something along the lines of 'I was at Sainsburys the other day...' and then a producer interjects with 'other supermarkets are available.

There has been furore over the BBC's stance on not televising an appeal for Gaza. This they say is due to impartiality issues.

Now the Mashup learns that the BBC has launched a travel portal linking to Lonely Planet and will feature 3 'editorially selected' news items.

"The travel module will appear on the BBC home page for users outside the UK from today and will provide access to the destination pages from the Lonely Planet website and a picture gallery for inspiration on places to travel."

This is a great coup for Lonely Planet as it will be linked to from one of the most well known brands in the world.

This move by BBC online may be an indication of their future plans to monetise (cash in on) their readership. That said, this is a bold move by such a highly regarded corporation and it is not only innovative but shows that they can embrace the specialities of niche companies (Lonley Planet).

The winner in this partneship can only really be Lonely Planet.

Mashup out.
social media blog

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Youtube have been hd

Thats right the most famous video sharing network of them all has gone HD. Is this a necesary addition? No. does it look and sound good? Yes

This seems to be part PR behaviour and part future proofing. As we all know, eventually there will be just a single piece of kit in your living room through which you can access all media formats; TV, music, the internet (and so Youtube) and probably all manner of other things things that haven't even been thought of yet.

This has garnered a lot of attention and so has done the PR bit well.

By providing videos in an HD format Youtube is making itself the video browsing site of choice for the home viewer of the future. As we have all believed the hype that our non HD TV's will soon be obslete we may feel validated by the fact that such a market player is heading in this direction.

Glanceable content. Thats the media of the future. Its all around us with Youtube clips, mobile/web only TV shows and mainstream TV programmes like Rudetube being born from the web. As I believe it though, the videos have to be recorded in HD form to be then shown in HD. This can only be done on expensive camcorders. Youtube is the land of the cameraphone so until we have HD quality camera phones...this may be ahead of its time.
social media blog

Monday, 26 January 2009

Make money from your Twitter account...again?

I was afraid that headline might look slightly spammish but then I though ah forget it yo home to Belair!

Look it up yourself. Ad Cause is the slightly schizophrenic site that is half aimed at money grabbing Tweeters and half at charitable folk.

The site is pleasing to the eye with clear initial instructions on how to sign up and make money. The page seemed to show the main content out of the page area on the right so frustratingly to view any info I had to keep scrolling over to the page. Also, when signing up and choosing my country, I was given the options of living in Great Britain or United Kingdom....hmmm

How it Works:

It's not a way of monetising your Twitter background, its about showing ad's in your Twitter stream for companies who have signed up.

1) Visit AdCause and sign up. Write a bio about yourself to attract advertisers and make sure you're signed up to Paypal beforehand as this is how you'll get paid.

2) Choose how much you charge per ad and how long you want the ads to show for.

3) (and here's the catch) Wait for an advertiser to select you to advertise through. You'll need to be a poplular fellow with plenty of followers in their target market. I would estimate you'd have to have over 500 relevant followers (don't quote me!).

4) Sit back and wait for the dollar bills to start pouring through the letterbox.

social media blog

Friday, 23 January 2009

What EXACTLY is Social Media...really... when you get down to it?

Social Media as a viable commercial option has arrived on the scene so quickly that I believe those that are not intimately connected with it, don't really understand what it is. Then there are the people who think they know what it is eg. Oh yaaa lets put that on Twaddle and Facespace lets embrace Social Media (and look good in front of our peers/bosses)...don't even talk to me about THEM. I'm not a social media SNOB but it annoys me in any walk of life when people jump on the bandwagon and the gravy train or just do things to look cool. Rant over.

Firstly to deal with the definitions:

Social - Some definitions ;

  • relating to human society and its members; "social institutions"; "societal evolution"; "societal forces"; "social legislation"
  • living together or enjoying life in communities or organized groups; "a human being is a social animal"; "mature social behavior"
Media - Some definitions;

  • In communication, media (Singular: Medium) are the storage and transmission tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is often referred to as synonymous with mass media or news media, but may refer to a single medium used to communicate any data for any purpose.
And finally social media;
  • Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words ...
  • A category of sites that is based on user participation and user-generated content. They include social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, social bookmarking sites like, social news sites like Digg or Reddit, and other sites that are centered on user interaction.
source: wikipedia (of course!)

Here's 5 steps to get you on your way to a great social media campaign:

1) Choose the right people

If setting up a campaign, you should make sure that the primary research and finished product(s) is centered around the community. And any community is made up of individuals so you must ensure that any campaign appeals to your target tribe (thanks Seth) must also ensure that it appeals to each indiviual. If you can identify the individual that is the tribe's 'leader' then so much the better. They are the online gatekeeper to your brand.

2) Choose the right technology (right)

Like else where in life; its not what you've got its how you use it. The aim isn't to use the newest or most expensive technology. The aim is to get your target audience to engage with your brand. Now innovative technology may well do this but just using it for the sake of it won't help anyone. A place for everything and everything in its place.

3) Give people a reason to interact with you

Why should anyone want to join your community. Just because you think your company/product/service is the bees knees, to everyone else you are just another soulless company trying to sell stuff. Give them a reason to love you and your product! Then if they love you they'll tell their friends about you...which leads me on to...

4) Spread the word

Use all of the seeding channels you possibly can. Chat in forums, write in blogs, create groups on social networking sites. Get online editorials to review your campaign, bloggers to link to you. Identify key influencers and bloggers to make them aware of you. DON'T try and bribe them to write about you...they will probably write about it!

5) Be honest and transparant

Internet users are not dummys. They've been clever enough to find your video/game/application/widget so don't insult them by trying to pull the wool over their eyes. You'll give the impression of being a wolf in sheeps clothing...or a cat amongst the pigeons...

Never, ever pretend that you are doing anything other than that which you are doing i.e. trying to get their attention. In fact if following the AIDA model you should be trying to stimulate:


No-one likes fake people and no-one likes companies who pretend to be their best friend.

social media blog

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

BBC using social media for its teenager brand...

Once upon a time the BBC made programmes, put them on the TV at a specified time and we watched it if we felt so inclined.

BBC Switch is the corporation's teenager wing. I imagine it to be a section of their television studios with a disco in one corner, Kevin the teenager sulking in another and Hoodies (thats what teenagers wear isn't it?) having board meetings.

So what the BBC are doing now is going multi platform. They're flirting with the New Media furore and it's great! Research done by the BBC themselves shows that the young are far more likely to use the internet for entertainment.

So what has Auntie been doing then? Well they are creating a new show for teenagers called 'Proper Messy'. this will be delivered in short, 90 second episodes and be shown on BBC 2, the BBC switch site and kids favourite, Bebo (Blog Early Blog Often). The BBC is also hoping that 5000 of it's target audience will sign up to receive mobile SMS text featuring real time messages from the soap's characters. Future storylines will then be affected by audience participation.

A bold and welcome step by the BBC and if it works, they could capture a large proportion of the hoodie market.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Attempt at Social Media Tracking

Research company YouGov have just announced their intention to investigate the actual usage of social media networks. They propose to interview over 2000 users to discover the most used networks, how often these are used and test participant’s reactions to various adverts. See my article on Social Media Measurement.

The aim it appears, is to learn how best to make money out of the unsuspecting public. How to make money in the short term with clickable ads ‘Google’ style, and in the long term through increasing brand engagement and two way communication. Clickable ads equals bad idea. Social network users are generally of a demographic that is educated (to some level) and not ignorant when it comes to being advertised at. Research may say that users don’t mind the ad’s, but there will be a limit before. David Lucas, head of media consulting for YouGov, said, "The next challenge for these websites is to find a way to take advantage of their audience and make money from their product. Appealing to advertisers is an obvious route, but finding the best way to engage with those using this channel needs further consideration."take advantage of their audience…people don’t like to be taken advantage of I’m afraid chaps. Be careful.

If companies really want to benefit from brand engagement through social networking, they may want to think about other, more subtle ways of financing Facebook et al.

Read further at NMA

social media blog

Friday, 16 January 2009

Brilliant example of a digital campaign

Compare the

This is the best integrated digital campaign that I have seen since the Orange balloon race!

And I’ll tell you why:

1) Integrated platform usage- The use of more than one media platform to advertise the site increases awareness of the brand. It may cost a bundle to run a prime time TV ad but if this results in an increase in traffic then and a good ROI will not be far behind. Not only has a website been setup but also a Facebook group has been established for lovers of Aleksandr the Meerkat. Six separate groups have a combined 1058 members. This repetitive method increases Compare the Market’s share of mind and thus makes it the first place we look when we need to get an insurance quote.

2) Brand re-enforcement – The creation of a spoof site called ‘Compare the Meerkat’ is a genius form of brand extension. The similarity between the two is uncanny and after several exposures to the advert, ‘Compare the Meerkat becomes synonymous with Compare the Market.

3) Use of Humour – The key to any successful viral campaign is that you have to give people a reason to pass it on. Now although this isn’t technically viral as it features on TV, the first time I heard about it was through an email from a colleague.

4) Identifiable Character- Many companies have proven in the past the importance of having an identifiable character. Halifax have Howard, 118 118 has the 118 men, Sprite has (or had) Fido Dido. It presents something familiar and humane about the brand. Compare the Market is a comparison site and aggregator. Aleksandr of Compare the Meerkat is humorous and so appeals to those of us easily tickled.

Watch the TV ad here:

social media blog

Thursday, 15 January 2009

New Radio 1 Homepage

The BBC (or at least the Radio1 section) is jumping forwards in leaps and bounds when it comes to digital and online content.

I found the Radio1 site quite engaging and intuitive BEFORE they changed it and now….well it’s even better. It looks good and is perfectly stylised with their target audience in mind (16-30).

Now I could dissect the site for hours but that’s not what this blog concerns. What we care about is social media isn’t it…Which brings me to the best part of the new site. This is what Radio one have coined ‘Visualising Radio’. What they intend to do is reflect back user interaction through dynamic visuals on the website. This is to be done through placing a filter in incoming SMS text which then feeds in to the visualisation.

For example, the Chris Moyle’s show has Chris Moyles, Dave, Dominic, Carrie, Aled and Rachel. There is a feature whereby each member of the team can choose a song to put on. Listeners can then text in their response as to whether they like or dislike the song. Radio1 then scan and filter the incoming text messages and display this information in a chart (see below).

This is great. It’s innovative and it looks good. Bravo to Radio1 and I’m glad my license fee is being spent on something other than paying the ‘stars’ of Strictly Come Dancing or whatever!

Read more on Ben Chapman of Radio 1's blog

Or read NMA's news story

social media blog

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

2009...The year of total digital integration?

Hmmmm not possible...such a convergence is not! Is what a Yoda type digital marketer would have written 4-5 years ago. Only two years ago do I remember reading with interest (and seeing the 'tellyvision' ads) from Virgin advertising their new Lobster 700 TV phone. It was the "first handset in the UK to offer such a feature without users having to incur data costs."(Pocket Lint).

Gosh, I thought, wouldn't that be amazing? I can watch TV where ever I want, when ever I want on my mobile phone! It didn't catch on though or take off and the likely, most contributory factor to this failure may be sited (well i'm siting it!) as... on demand internet TV. That and the fact that it weighed 140 grams and was named after a crustacian.

Now here we are 2009, the year of integration. All of the major television providers in the UK provide some form of 'watch again' or 'on demand' television service. BBC (i player), ITV (ITV player), Channel 4 (4OD) and Sky (Sky Player - subscibers only). I can sit here in my lunch break and watch Eastenders that I missed last night...should I wish to. If I have a 3G mobile such as an Apple i-Phone I can watch these digitally streamed programmes at my leisure. Obviously I can't watch live TV only repeats but does this matter (although ITV does stream almost live TV)? Not to me it doesn't. If I want to watch my favourite programme it doesn't matter where on when I watch it, just so long as I can, in fact, watch it.

So where are we headed?

The final destination is centred around a single entertainment centre can can allow the user to view digital television, play music or even order their shopping. Myspace (an internet company) have just signalled their intention to launch 'Widget TV'. This will allow viewers to interact with their Myspce accounts through their television. One suspects that had they held back a year or so then the majority of televisions would be able to browse the internet anyway, thus doing away with the need for a seperate TV channel.

The second series/programme of Rude Tube was shown recently on Channel 4. This again flips it around and has the internet providing the content for a mainstream, terrestrial TV show. and just the other day I was walking around Tescos only to come across a TV with an integrated (there's that word again!) ipod dock for playing music/tv shows/films straight from you ipod.

Next they'll be telling me I can make a phone call on a portable telephone?! Crazy.

social media blog

Friday, 9 January 2009

Why can't we be happy with what we've got?

Everything I know tells me that this is not a good headline for a readership that is obviously at the forefront of technology. Let me play devils advocate for one moment though to discuss a trend that is causing me slight unease. as I remember being amazed at the fact that I could sit in a room, in front of a computer screen and talk to people I'd never met before in a chat room.

Then came ICQ, MSN and their cohorts allowing friends, strangers and strange people to connect to each other in a more direct fashion. 2003 saw the advent of the great Myspace. At last we could listen to our favourite bands instantly online, message each other and then, as times moved on watch videos and write blogs; but it wasn't enough. There was a thirst for something more niche. A bit more exclusive. Cue mass uptake of Facebook, then Bebo (for the younger guys and gals), not to mention Linked in, Faceparty and all the others that quickly emerged (I would be interested to know the exact chronological order that they appeared.)

Still not enough though. We didn't want to trawl through blogs for information. 'Blogs are dead', said recently. We can't be bothered to read more than the status report on our Facebook page and so came Twitter et al, as we apparently aren't interested in reading anything longer than 140 characters.

Now the time has come when we can't even wait to get to a computer, and have to have the latest application uploaded to our i-phone and other generic third generation smartphones. Don't get me wrong, it is of course important to be aware of every new development but do we have to jump on every single bandwagon? Does Twitter actually benefit our day to day life or does it get in the way.

So I put it to you. Instead of signing up to the latest dotcom social networking next big thing. Why not spend that time investigating what utility can really be taken from your current big thing. Surely in our role as technological overseers we have a responsibility to not only talk up every new startup but to also fully appreciate and discuss what we have at our disposal right now. That said, never take your eye off the horizon digiteers, you never know what may be around the corner.

New Media Predictions For 2009

Well the gloves are off with each and every blog, site and column vying for the position of the most novel/innovative/incisive prediction for 2009.

This is difficult with any industry but the dynamic and ever changing nature of digital marketing makes it difficult to predict what will happen next week, let alone in several months time. It's not just about predicting what will happen and what new things may appear its more about what will become highly relevant to people inside and outside of the industry. The shifting paradigm is from companies testing the water with certain areas (social networking), to them actually implementing results driven socnet campaigns with analytics and profitable ROI's.

Anyhoo, it seems that lists are the standard format for predictions so here we are:

1) Dynamic ad insertion to computer games – on the brink of happening and being tested in the new Sims games where there is a poster for the latest Indiana Jones film as you walk down the virtual street. Or it could even be in Fifa 09 where the football stadiums have real advertising on the hoardings surrounding the pitch. Dynamic in that can be constantly updated with more and more video game consoles being connected to internet servers (eg x box live)

2) Mobile TV (and so ads) through BBC iplayer etc via iphones as iphone ownership proliferates.

3) Natural product placement within online social environments. Bebo is playing host to an increasing number of corporate led initiatives such as shows 'Kate Modern'. These shows may be sponsored by brands overtly or covertly but this is set to increase in 2009.

4) Predictions aren't just about about 'in with the new', they also concern 'out with the old' - With the hundreds of niche products available (Twitter, Friendfeed, Flock) etc) we are probably set for a mini dot com bubble burst. In the loan friendly economic environment of the 00's new start ups have gain the support of venture capitalists with relative ease. This support may be set to wane with the doom mongering and credit crunch. Therefore 2009 is to be a year where we develop, embrace and exploit the exisiting rather than constantly searching for the new.