We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #59


Line chat app launches Chinese rival to WeChat
Mobile messaging is big in Asia, and Japanese chat app Line has launched a Chinese version called ‘Lianwo’ (loosely translated to mean “link me”) in a bid to expand into China. The Chinese version of the popular chat app comes with most of the features except social gaming support. Line faces an uphill battle for the Chinese market as its rival WeChat (also known as “Weixin” in Chinese) has a firm foothold within the country and a far larger user base of more than 200 million versus Line’s user base of 70 million. Line might be a late entrant into the Chinese market but it has made some headway in Thailand, where it recently announced passing the 10 million download mark and Indonesia, with social marketing tie-ups with local businesses and special stickers.

Nimbuzz chat app plans to compete for the Asian messaging market
Nimbuzz, a Dutch-born chat app with its headquarters in India, is the latest to enter the fray in the battle for users in Asia’s mobile messaging market. Like its rivals, Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk, Nimbuzz has features such as messaging, voice and video calling. However, Nimbuzz differentiates itself from the competition through its integration with other online chat platforms like Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook messaging and Windows Live Messenger. Nimbuzz also offers Skype-like international calling allowing users to connect to anybody worldwide even if the other party is not a Nimbuzz user.

Starbucks kicks off 4th year of Jiepang tie-up with festive social check-ins
Get virtual goodies with your brew when you check in at over 300 Chinese Starbucks stores in Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces this festive season. Through a tie-up between Starbucks and Jiepang, China’s most popular location-based check-in service, Starbucks customers can earn four virtual Christmas badges, send Christmas e-cards and unlock buy-one-get-one-free drink deals. Available till the end of 2012, Jiepang users will unlock a ‘Magic Wish’ badge and be eligible to redeem buy-one-get-one-free rewards when they’ve collected all four Christmas badges. To make gifting Christmas greetings easier and more social, users can send Christmas e-Cards to friends on their Sina Weibo accounts from within the Jiepang app. Toffee Nut Latte, anyone?

South Koreans to hold “Battle of the Singles” on Christmas Eve
What started as a harmless question about Christmas Eve plans on Facebook has resulted in a mass dating event slated to take place in a park in central Seoul. The event has attracted over 36,000 people and garnered the attention of businesses with around 200 firms offering to sponsor the event. On Christmas Eve, the singles will gather at the park located on an island on the Han River. Clad in red, the women will stand a few metres away from the the men, dressed in white, till the event starts and they’re allowed to run towards a potential date and grab his or her hands. The singles who couple up will be encouraged to post photos taken with their newly found partners on the event’s Facebook page. The concept received such an overwhelming response and publicity that similar events are being planned in other cities with some businesses have offered single employees a day off to attend the event.

Travel gets more social with WAYN and India Today Group partnership
London-grown social network for travellers, WAYN (Where Are You Now), and content platform, India Today Group, have inked a deal to co-brand a travel portal – Travel Plus. The deal gives ITG access to WAYN’s userbase of over 19.1 million users, of which 4 million are Indian. For WAYN, ITG offers rich content and reach through its 38 magazine titles, 4 television channels, 7 radio stations in addition to a range of websites and apps. The travel portal, which will collate travel information and deals, is expected to appeal to potential tourists and expatriates wanting to learn more about India.

The Global Popularity of Social Media
A report by the Pew Research Center has shown the increasing usage of social networking sites all over the world. Key findings show that in countries like Britain, US, Russia, Czech Republic and Spain, around half the population are using social media. Also, in almost every country polled, social media usage was higher amongst under 30s and those with a college degree. This graph shows the percentage of each country’s population using (and not using) social networks around the world:

Worldwide Social Network Usage

A shift is expected in marketing budgets
A global study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council expects that the coming year will see increased budgets for digital and social marketing, with slower growth in television. 79% of marketers intend to invest in social media: 30% in community building, 30% in social media monitoring and 19% into tracking and analytics. With these interests compiled, social networks prove the most important point of investment for global CMOs.

The Networks being used to connect with brands
SocialVibe have produced research into the networks used by Internet Users to connect with Brands, with Facebook unsurprisingly topping the list. What is more interesting is how well Google+ is doing, outperforming both YouTube and Twitter.

Only 20% of FTSE 100 engaging on LinkedIn
Sociagility’s research has shown that only 1 in 5 FTSE 100 companies are active on LinkedIn, despite 96% holding some presence on the platform. In fact, only 12% are receiving regular engagement from LinkedIn users, despite the network now consisting of 187 million members. Could this be a missed opportunity for brands?

Facebook set to launch disposable photo sharing app?
Facebook is rumoured to be launching an app for sharing self-destructable text and photos, similar to Snapchat, before the end of 2012. The app, which will be standalone, much like Camera and Messenger, allows users to share a photo or message that can only be viewed for a certain amount of time. The vast similarity between this and Snapchat means the battle between the two will be interesting to monitor over the coming months.

Twitter adds photo filters
After last week’s news that Instagram had removed Twitter card functionality, the microblogging platform has now introduced its own set of filters, powered by Aviary. The service offers many of the same features as the site’s former partner, Instagram but it is unlikely that Instagram’s user base will be tempted away by the new feature.

Twitter improves Promoted Tweets functionality
Having introduced Promoted Tweets back in 2010, a couple of alterations have been made to the feature this week, intending to provide a better service for marketers. Firstly, when intending a Promoted Tweet to appear in a search, it is now possible to select from three different keyword matching options: exact match, phrase match, and basic keyword match. This means that you can prevent your Promoted Tweet about bacon appearing in searches for Kevin Bacon, simply by adding “Kevin” as a negative keyword.

Also, Promoted Tweets will now automatically respond to relevant and related trending topics. This means that, say you’re a vendor of baby clothes, you can have Promoted Tweets react to a new trend about a celebrity baby and increase your overall reach.

Pinterest adds Twitter card support
In a timely fashion just after Instagram switched off their Twitter integration, Pinterest have now added Twitter card support. This means that, whenever a pin is posted to Twitter, you can view it without leaving the page. Here’s what it looks like:

A wealth of new Google+ Features
Google have launched 18 new features for Google+, intending to make “sharing and communicating easier and more fun than ever.” These include new Android features that allow increased mobility, such as on-the-go profile editing and altered posting tools. Photos have also changed, including backups and animated GIF support, whilst there are also new ways to produce and respond to Event invites. Finally, Hangouts are set to be made smoother for those with lower bandwidths, which could be seen as a move to reach out to poorer countries.

Flickr produces iPhone app
Flickr has launched a radically improved iPhone app, including a number of new features. The most intriguing of these are perhaps the Instagram style features, as shown by this rather handsome dog.

Lanyrd and LinkedIn team up for events management
LinkedIn have teamed up with Lanyrd to fill the void left by the removal of the LinkedIn events function. Lanyrd has a number of features that should prove useful on LinkedIn, including recommendations based on your contacts and the ability to see who is attending an event, giving you the chance for a bit of networking.

Guardian’s Facebook social reader is no more
The UK’s Guardian newspaper has chosen to remove its social reader from Facebook, providing them with greater control over how readers find their content. Despite initial success, with over six million monthly users at one point, the reader declined in popularity after changes made by Facebook meant lower reach for articles with less engagement.

Pizza Hut makes fragrance for Facebook fans
Love the smell of pizza? After a lighthearted post by Pizza Hut Canada asked fans about a pizza perfume, the response was so strong that the restaurant chain decided to produce the fragrance and send it out to 100 Facebook fans. Apparently it smells like “dough with a little bit of seasoning added”. Sounds intriguing, though perhaps not one to wear on a night out.

J. Crew and Tumblr hosting Secret Santa blogger event
J. Crew have teamed up with Tumblr and hosted a Secret Santa event for some of the world’s biggest fashion and photography bloggers. Each was given two things by J. Crew: a $101 gift card and a “101 Gift Ideas” guide and expected to let their creativity flow for their Secret Santa. The move shows increased interest in social media by the retailer, who have this year launched on Pinterest and Instagram and relaunched their Twitter feed.

Lavazza launch 2013 Social Calendar
Coffee brand Lavazza have launched a 2013 calendar made up of content curated from their fans on Instagram. The sourced images are put together into a video collage, which can be downloaded and personalised as a 2013 calendar.

The Pope takes to Twitter
As we previously reported, the Pope took to Twitter this week, with 8 separate language accounts including @Pontifex tweeting in English. He opened with the following tweet:

This was followed by providing answers to a set of questions asked earlier in the week from Twitter users across the world, absolutely nailing the papal tone of voice.

Surrey police’s Twitter Tone of Voice
In a slightly more contemporary approach to Twitter, Surrey police have amused followers this week by tweeting safety advice based on the lyrics to Vanilla Ice’s seminal 1989 release, “Ice Ice Baby”. This, along with other tweets to the tune of “Santa Claus is coming to town”, is interspersed with more serious content, displaying how organisations can alter their tone to fit different types of content.

Starbucks get rather less festive cheer than they hoped for
As part of their Christmas marketing activity, Starbucks have produced an in-store screen that automatically displays any tweet with the hashtag #spreadthecheer. However, Twitter users have taken this as an opportunity to berate Starbucks for their recent poor performance in the tax paying stakes. An example of a time when social media moderation might seem like a good idea.

Check yourself in to a white Christmas with EE
Mobile network EE are creating white Christmases through Foursquare check ins. With snow cannons set up atop various London buildings, checking in to the right place could make it instantly start snowing near you. The cannons are located in Rivington St. and Hoxton Square, so to Londoners looking for snow, this might be your best bet.

A very modern Christmas miracle
We end with another Christmas story – Reddit users have saved Christmas for a father of four. He posted on r/offmychest, a board on which users rant about their problems, about various financial problems that were affecting him and his family. As a result, redditors gathered together to raise over $8,000, enough to pay off the father’s various bills and provide Christmas presents for his children to the extent that he is now trying to redirect help towards other needy redditors. A Christmas miracle to melt the heart of even the most stubborn Grinch.