Hello, we are social. We’re a global conversation agency with offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney & São Paulo. We help brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media.
We’re a new kind of agency, but conversations between people are nothing new. Neither is the idea that ‘markets are conversations’.

We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.

If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on (+1) 646-476-2893 or drop us an email.

Spreading Galatine love on social

by Massimiliano Galvagni in News

Most of us will admit to having a bit of a sweet tooth. This is also true of Italy, birthplace of some of the best sweet and sugary dishes, including classics like Panettone, Biscotti and of course, Tiramisu.

Galatine, also founded in Italy, is a popular candy choice in the country, made up of milk, yoghurt and honey. People all over Italy, of all ages, enjoy tucking into a handful of Galatine.

But where are in Italy are the Galatine’s most passionate fans – not just those who like it – those who really go crazy for it? After a period of social listening, we managed to determine that there were two major cities where Galatine was best loved – Milan and Rome.

We decided it was time to put the two cities’ social communities to the test, and see how strong their passion for Galatine was. First, we launched a competition, asking social media users to vote on the city they felt deserved to win a huge stock of Galatine bars.

 
We created an app specifically for the competition, hosted on Galatine’s Facebook page. Users could choose their winning city with one simple click, or could choose to be more creative in their vote and upload a Galatine inspired image or showcase patriotism and love for their city – highlighting why their city should win. Fans could also vote and share content via Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #galatineblitz.

We also ran a blogger outreach campaign to support the competition, inviting two groups of influential bloggers from each city to talk about their love for Galatine and help spread the word of Galatine Blitz.

The competition ran for two weeks and we were thrilled to see thousands of people from both cities take part, displaying their love for Galatine in creative and imaginative ways.

When the contest came to a close, Milan beat Rome by just a few hundred votes, with the ratio being 52% vs 48%.

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To reward Milan for its win, we set up a giant Galatine machine and stocked it full of Galatine bars, so the community could indulge in as much of the sweet as they wished, sharing their happiness across social using the hashtag #galatineblitz.

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We were thrilled with the campaign results. Content related to Galatine Blitz received 437,000 impressions on Twitter and over 3.5 million views on Galatine’s Facebook page. The campaign boosted online mentions of Galatine by a massive 56%.

Galatine Blitz was a huge success in every sense – we helped spread its love online and through the streets of Milan, and reinforced Galatine as a cherished candy brand in Italy. Happiness all round!

WeChat leads APAC mobile messaging

by Deniz Ugur in News

A recent report by GlobalWebIndex shows WeChat is dominating the mobile messaging landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. Almost 40% of the adult internet users questioned had accessed the platform in the last month, giving it double the reach of Facebook Messenger, in second place.

As well as its growing popularity in China, GlobalWebIndex reports WeChat has been enjoying strong growth across the whole of Asia. Between Q1 2013 and Q3 2014, WeChat’s APAC membership base grew by a huge 150%; and with parent company Tencent announcing the launch of Dianhua and Lighttalk, the former of which requires a WeChat account, it’s likely we’ll see further growth in the months ahead.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #238

by Hannah Jones in News

Facebook launches new ‘Groups’ app
If there is one thing we all need, it’s another Facebook branded mobile app. So we’re happy to introduce to you the new Facebook Groups app, which launched earlier this week for iOS and Android. In a similar style to the messenger app, it consolidates all your current Facebook groups into one place, allowing for faster sharing within groups, whilst making it easier to find other communities relevant to you.

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Facebook adds structured status feature to pages
Ever wondered if your favourite brands were feeling blessed, loved or sleepy at any given moment? Well, with the introduction of structured status updates for Facebook pages, now you’ll know. The feature provides brands with a drop-down menu of automated emoji-style status updates that can be shared with their page’s fans.

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Snapchat introduces ‘SnapCash’
A selfie AND money? Yes please! Snapchat brings peer to peer bank transfers into the social age. The photo messaging app has partnered with Square Cash to create a new money sending feature. It allows users to link their bank accounts to the app to send and receive money from friends. Currently only available in the US, the new feature has sparked discussions about the future potential of Snapchat, particularly the obvious benefits the update could have for e-commerce businesses.

The intro video is worth watching just for the LOLs…

Snapchat debuts brand-sponsored ad format
Snapchat debuted a new type of ad last night during the American Music awards. A stream of posts about the event played out on Snapchat’s ’Our Story’, a feature that curates user posts about live events. For the first time, these posts were sponsored, with Samsung the brand in the spotlight. Stay tuned for more real-time ad opportunities on Snapchat soon.

Kik buys GIF messaging app
Kik, the instant messaging start-up that now reports 185 million registered users, has just bought Relay, an increasingly popular GIF sharing app. With the ever growing popularity of online video and video advertising, this represents a strategic move for Kik, to both keep up with current trends and make its offering more visual.

Viber messaging app becomes more social
Viber, the WhatsApp-y instant messaging app, has introduced a new public chat feature which will allow users to follow chats and view conversations between celebrities. Perez Hilton and Pixie Lott are already confirmed, so one can only imagine the huge gossip potential. There are currently no plans to put ads in the public chats, but as the content is at the discretion of the celebrity we’re sure brands will soon find a way to get involved.

adidas launches #LeaveYourMark campaign
adidas’ new #LeaveYourMark campaign in Australia and New Zealand features brand ambassador Sonny Bill Williams, a rugby player and former heavyweight boxer with some pretty impressive achievements under his belt. We Are Social in Sydney has worked with adidas to create three branded content films focusing on how the sportsman achieved his goals, in the aim of sparking a conversation across social around how fans leave their mark in life. The videos were launched on both Sonny’s and adidas’ social channels and amplified with supporting content and teasers.

Twitter’s ‘Buy’ button has first Christmas promotion
Twitter’s ‘Buy’ button debuted back in June, and it’s now about to experience its first ever holiday promotion. Starting this week, AMC Theatres will be making the most of the new Twitter ‘buy’ button, offering its US Twitter followers the chance to buy a $30 gift card without ever leaving the platform.

Tesco App scans Twitter feeds for gift suggestions
We Are Social has created a Twitter app for Tesco Clubcard, offering to take the stress out of the search for Christmas presents by offering thoughtful and personal suggestions. The ‘app’-tly named “Secret Scan-ta” service analyses Twitter profiles to select appropriate gifts from Tesco, based on who that person follows and what they’ve been talking about. The site links directly to all the products shown for easy purchasing, and encourages sharing across social channels.

Argos creates Tinder-like gift-giving app
Argos has also launched a gift recommendation app; this one lets you enter the basic details of your intended recipient, then provides targeted gift suggestions from the retailer’s catalogue. In true tinder-style, swipe right for yes and left for no – and the app even gets smarter the more it’s used. To provide a more social element, the app also hosts the game ‘Friend or Fraud’ through Facebook, which lets users pick their favourite gifts and see if their friends can guess them correctly.

Lacoste’s #SpotTheCroc Snapchat Campaign
Lacoste continues to experiment with social platforms popular among younger fans with a new Snapchat campaign, asking followers to find a crocodile hidden in a series of five short videos. The videos will be released every fortnight, illustrating various sports such as tennis, golf, skateboarding and rollerblading, in line with Lacoste’s brand signature: “Life is a Beautiful Sport”. Users are encouraged to view the videos, take a screengrab of the exact frame on which the crocodile appears, and send it back to Lacoste for a chance to get 20 percent off their next Lacoste purchase.

Brands congratulate Hamilton on social media 
Following Lewis Hamilton’s second Formula 1 Drivers Championship victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, numerous brands have taken to social media to congratulate him.

After his win, Mercedes-Benz, the company Hamilton drives for, tweeted a picture of the British driver standing in front of its logo and punching the air, alongside text that read, ‘The Best’. Others, such as mobile phone manufacturer Blackberry and The International Watch Company, tweeted their congratulations too.

Congrats, Lewis. Hammertime!

Marketer’s Guide to Social Media ‘Fandom’

by Cristina Forlani in News

B&T recently published this article by me about understanding your online fanbase and how leverage them. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below:

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Word of mouth and consumer advocacy are marketing gold. Marketers know that peer-to-peer recommendations carry much more credibility with consumers than brand generated content.

Creating and maintaining a highly engaged fanbase on social media may appear to be a daunting undertaking, but the benefits for brands and their fans may just be worth the effort.

One of the first consequences of having a highly involved fanbase is the positive impact on customer loyalty and the influence on how often they buy your brand’s products.

In a recent study by US company Share This it was revealed that “extremely positive online shares generate a 9.5 percent increase in purchase intent”.

But there’s definitely more to ‘fandom’ than this. Rather than looking for short-term engagements that spikes then peters out, it’s about having fans involved in shaping the evolution of the brand itself, strengthening the bond with fans, igniting brand passion and building consumer trust and loyalty in the long term.

Through social media brands can truly engage with customers and potential customers at scale, driving advocacy and word of mouth both online and offline. So how can brands build advocacy or even, as in some cases, brand fandom?

Fandoms can be an intense phenomenon and potentially a brand’s strongest ally in social media. To build such a deep level of advocacy brands have to demonstrate their values every day by engaging their communities with the appropriate tone of voice. Brands looking to develop true ‘fandom’ need to provide a genuine interaction with people online – essentially talking and behaving like a smart, positive, honest, inspiring person.

Most of all, what brands must do is focus on the quality of the content they share online. Every single piece of content should be created as a conversation starter; a fundamental part of the story the brand is telling to its community. This facilitates an authentic opportunity to share brand messages through creative dialogue.

Another important piece of the puzzle is encouraging users to create content about the brand itself. Fashion brands seem to be particularly good at this strategy. For example, this is exactly what fashion retailer Black Milk has done, leveraging thousands of Sharkie selfies and creating specific hashtags for every single product. This encourages customers to be not just fans, but Black Milk models, playing a big role in the brand’s storytelling, giving value, adding credibility and sparking users’ interest in the brand.

When thinking about creating highly engaged social communities it’s important that we take a channel agnostic approach. There is no one platform that dictates success. Rather, we need to keep in mind demographics and the interests of our target audience as the first criteria to consider when looking for the best place to develop social communities.

Generally speaking, Instagram and Pinterest are the top players for fashion fandom, but other platforms like Snapchat can provide a more exclusive interaction with the brand. This is working well for brands like Free People, Juicy Couture and Rebecca Minkoff. By using Snapchat to give fans sneak peeks at new collections these brands are sharing exclusive content with their most highly committed fans before anyone else, making the content even more elite and ephemeral.

Fashion brands are known to be forward thinkers when it comes to social media. While there are many fashion brands doing great things online, one of the best is Burberry. This is a brand that actively engages with its fans and followers on a daily basis, experimenting with new platforms and looking to find the best ways to respond to the changing needs and social behaviours of its consumer base.

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Burberry is always careful to create the right content for the right platform, and in doing so, strengthens its relationship with its community. This strategy has also delivered a strong user-generated element, with the community highly involved in content creation for the brand. Other fashion brands doing great work in this space are H&M, ASOS and Lorna Jane.

But as with any marketing strategy, there are risks as well as rewards for brands with highly engaged communities. In the case of fashion communities, very often, fashion industry lovers act as a tribe. In many cases they are so highly committed and involved with brand values they show a unique level of advocacy and loyalty and contribute to the brand’s evolution by providing inspiration and constructive feedback. There is a downside however, as fans can also be pretty vocal about what they don’t like, showing their disappointment in a highly visible and emotive way.

At some point, every brand will experience negative or hostile behaviour from followers online, especially if it involves the community in marketing strategies and product development. After developing a strong emotional connection with the brand, the community members can feel so highly involved that they assume the brand will meet their expectations, whatever it takes: unfortunately, sometimes this is just not feasible and can generate frustration amongst fans.

Case in point was the very strong fan backlash that Black Milk experienced earlier this year while trying to celebrate May the 4th (Star Wars Day). Some of the brand’s highly engaged Facebook community took offence at a post that some considered negative and counter to the brand’s stated position that “you shall not make critical comments on other women’s bodies”.

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The brand then chose to delete these comments, claiming that the people who had been offended by the post were a minority. The brand admitted that they would continue to delete any comments that weren’t “positive” enough. When this was, again, received negatively, they even went so far as to tell their own customers if they felt that this particular thread was out of line to unlike their page and to stop supporting them. The situation escalated and many of the community were unhappy with the brand’s approach to their concerns, with the story hitting the news as word spread across social networks.

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The brand response to this crisis was definitely not best practice in terms of community management, openness and transparency. In cases like this brands can only hope to learn from their mistakes. The strong lesson from this case is that all brands engaging with their communities through social media must have clearly articulated crisis plans in place to respond to issues with their communities before they escalate into fully-blown crises.

The reality is that most brand advocates are motivated by the desire to play an active role as main stakeholders: they like to tell other people about their experience with the brand, share their knowledge with others to help them make better decisions. In return they are looking for recognition and appreciation for their positive contributions.

This level of advocacy can impact brands on several levels. Brands may involve fans by implementing feedback in product development, offer them insider knowledge about the upcoming collections, encourage user-generated content creation, implement special loyalty programs for supporters or provide fans with discounts.

Brands that have succeeded in harnessing the power of fandom tend to have certain traits in common: they are good listeners, open to trends and willing to change their social media strategy based on social behaviour and insights from their communities. By recognising the rewards and risks of courting ‘fandom’ brands that actively commit to remaining deeply engaged with their communities, and to evolving their strategies to meet the changing needs of those communities, stand to gain tangible business advantages from their efforts.

Making your sales social

by Tom Ollerton in News

In the old world of advertising and sales, product marketing was a relatively linear process. It usually involved investing large amounts into product advertising to drive consumers into stores and convert a sale.

With the rise of social media, this old world of consumerism has changed. People are no longer passive when it comes to advertising but are decisive, active and selective of what brands they want to see in their media channels.

Consumers also use social to share purchases; they update their friends and followers on stores they’ve checked into or products they’ve just bought. For marketers, this is the hugely sought after peer-to-peer recommendation and an example of making a ‘social sale’.

A social sale raises awareness of products purchased and where they were purchased amongst a customer’s social community. And the great thing about them is that they are already happening. It doesn’t involve trying to change consumer behaviour, just harnessing it to work for your brand.

As our presentation shows, brand campaigns to drive social sales are happening, with success. But they’re not happening regularly – yet. It is still in its infancy, but it has the potential to revolutionise the purchase process in years to come. Mobile, shopper and social marketing are no longer separate disciplines. They need to evolve, and be considered as a cohesive whole, to allow each element to play to its strength and create truly social sales.