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We’re all aware of the colossal impact social networks have had on the worlds of marketing and PR. While data shows that Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ continue to lead the pack when it comes to consumer take-up, the likes of Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are hot on their heels. Stats from GlobalWebIndex comparing the use of social networks show that, although Facebook takes the lions’ share with 54% of UK consumers logging in within the last month, Instagram and Pinterest are fast catching up with 7% and 5% respectively, compared to Google+’s 10%. These platforms are giving brands the opportunity to tell their story through video and imagery and responding to consumers’ ever-decreasing attention span when it comes to absorbing content. with 54% of UK consumers using Facebook within the last month and 24% using Twitter, while Google+ and LinkedIn take 10% and 9% respectively.
More recently, some of the hottest apps of 2013 have hit the big time by continuing to capitalise on our desire for bite-size content.
The popularity of Snapchat, Kik and Tinder have all demonstrated that, whether it’s messaging your friends or sourcing your next hot date, we want it to be as quick – and ideally as visual – as possible. Until recently, though, I’d never have expected any of these apps to make their way into the communications professional’s toolkit.
However, if there’s one thing I should have learned, it’s that marketers love a challenge! Here’s a selection of a few of the brands that have caught my eye on Snapchat, Kik – and, yes, even Tinder!
HBO’s GIRLS has been ahead of the social media marketing curve since its premier in April 2012. Generating huge amounts of online buzz (and not just when a show is aired!), social media enables fans of GIRLS to pretty much do HBO’s marketing job for them. And with the show’s star and creator Lena Dunham participating actively on Twitter, the outcome is very much a two-way conversation.
GIRLS’ venture onto Snapchat, then, should perhaps come as no surprise. Surely one of the most talked about apps of 2013 (not least for rejecting a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook!), Snapchat allows its users to send each other photo and video messages viewable for up to ten seconds before being permanently deleted. By sending direct snaps from the show’s red carpet premier, emoticon-based messages and fun backstage shots, GIRLS is building on what it is already doing exceptionally well: talking to fans in a way which instantly makes every recipient feel as though they’re the fifth member of the coolest gang around.
Although the permanence (or lack of) of the content means some may question the efficacy of the app for building a long-term connection with consumers, the roll out of Snapchat Stories in October last year goes some way to combat this by offering a re-playable ‘story’ which is available for up to 24 hours.
Either way, though, in my opinion GIRLS’ success on Snapchat is testament to the ability of the app to help create longer-lasting impressions in ten seconds than some can achieve in an entire campaign.
Another US TV show, FOX’s The Mindy Project, has kicked off the year in fine form, using social dating app Tinder to promote its upcoming new series – and in doing so becoming one of the first to use the app in this manner. Users reported being matched with Mindy Lahiri, the sitcom’s main character. “Tiny doctor in a big city looking for love, friendship, or a donut that’s so good it’s spiritual” reads her profile, before going on to add: “To see more about me, tune-in to THE MINDY PROJECT this Tuesday on FOX.”
The stunt quickly prompted widespread speculation (was it the work of a fan? The actress herself?), before reaching the conclusion that it was indeed a marketing campaign – and a well-timed one at that, with the show reportedly set to do a Tinder-themed episode when it returns to our screens. A definite right-swipe for FOX.
Like Snapchat, Kik is a messaging app which has proven particularly popular with the teen demographic. With Gigaom reporting the decline of Facebook Messenger as social messaging tool of choice among this audience, the playing field has been left open for competitor communications apps to reign supreme.
It’s undoubtedly a crowded marketplace – with WhatsApp and WeChat among those jostling for the crown – but it would appear that when it comes to brand engagement, Kik is the frontrunner. Boy band One Direction took to Kik ahead of their most recent album launch, using the platform to engage with fans directly and harnessing the ‘digital cards’ functionality to share exclusive content.
Although arguably the most straightforward of these campaigns, One Direction’s marketing team have achieved the holy grail for all comms professionals – and that is identifying exactly where their target audience hang out, and getting straight in front of them.
And if it’s good enough for the world’s biggest boy band, it’s good enough for us!
Spotted any brands getting creative with Snapchat, Tinder or Kik – or maybe another app I’ve missed? Comment below and let me know!
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