We Are Social Asia Tuesday TuneUp #87
Sina Weibo and WeChat Compete in Online Banking
WeChat and China Merchants Bank (CMB) jointly launched the WeChat customer service for its credit card subscribers in late March this year. On July 1st, CMB announced the establishment of its first “WeChat Bank”, expanding its services to debit card, loan applications, and fee payment services among others. Hot on the heels of WeChat’s exploration into bank services, Sina Weibo has announced it will build a micro-banking system for users to easily open a bank account, conduct money transfers, and pay credit card fees – all without visiting the bank.
The move by WeChat and Sina Weibo is expected to revolutionise communication between customers and bank clerks, as these social media platforms present direct communication channels for both banks and users. Whether Sina Weibo’s micro-banking services are aimed at competing directly with WeChat’s banking strategy is still not clear. What is certain though is that micro-banking through social media is a heated trend in China, and will become a big theme in the coming years.
As WeChat Gets Disrupted, Sina Launches WeMeet
Numerous WeChat users reported disruptions to their WeChat accounts on July 22nd, which also extended to public accounts. There were issues logging in, and some users could not send or receive messages even when logged in. With an increasing number of Chinese Internet users getting addicted to WeChat, the disruptions were met with anxiety as users were unable to access their friends’ updates.
As reported by 36Kr, the disruptions not only affected users from Mainland China, but also Japan and Hong Kong. Many users turned to Sina Weibo to voice their unhappiness. WeChat announced and apologised for this incident right after its occurrence via their official Sina Weibo account. #WeChat is dead# becomes a hot topic on Sina Weibo, with 877,917 mentions by end of Monday. With the overwhelming popularity of WeChat, Sina on the same day launched a new platform called WeMeet (微米) to compete with WeChat. According to Sina, this is still a beta version, and they plan to have an official launch around the end of August 2013.
Line Launches a News App – Line News
In line with its global expansion objectives, Line is expanding more aggressively than competitor WeChat, with its series of individual apps such as Line camera, Line play, Line manga, and Line novel. Line makers NHN Japan recently launched another news app – Line News, which is a media integrated platform of NHN’s news website – Livedoor News and NAVER まとめ, and news from various Japanese media channels on topics such as politics, entertainment, and sports.
Four of the most important news will appear on the top of each channel, while the rest of news will appear in the format of timeline. The news on the Line News app are refined by Line’s editors, containing only 3 to 4 lines of summary, in order to provide an efficient reading model for mobile users. The most crucial part of Line News is that users can share news among each other, contributing to stronger connections between the Line users.
Fortune 500 companies taking to social media
Fortune 500 companies are continuing to grow their various social presences, with Twitter the most prevalent of these. 77% now have active Twitter accounts, compared to 70% in 2012; in terms of popularity, the microblogging platform is followed by Facebook in 2nd, and YouTube in 3rd. Surprisingly, Google+ comes in at 4th with 35%, ahead of company blogs with 34%.
Facebook’s mobile user base up by 20%
Facebook’s mobile user base has increased by 22% in the UK and 18% in the USA over the last year, according to figures released by the social network. On average, smartphone users check Facebook’s mobile app between 10-15 times a day, with 26 million of Facebook’s 33 million UK users (almost 80%) accessing the site via mobile.
Facebook roll out photo comments to pages
Facebook photo comments are now enabled for pages as well as individuals, meaning that people can post photos in response to page comments and page admins can make use of the system, too. The system has been available to personal users for around a month now – it will be interesting to see how quickly pages take advantage of the option.
QVC to create Pinterest-inspired social commerce channel
Bric-a-brac retailer QVC is creating a social-commerce channel called toGather, to be hosted on QVC.com. The service will allow consumers to create collections of products, which others can then ‘heart’ to show their approval, much like on image-sharing social network Pinterest. QVC personalities will also feature, interacting with users to add a further social element.
Trailers and ads on Instagram videos
A few weeks after the launch of video on Instagram, the network has seen its first movie trailer. The 15-second clip promotes ‘Jobs’, in which Ashton Kutcher plays the late Apple CEO, Steve.
Meanwhile, Carnival Cruises used the system to post 9 of their old 15-second ads, which they eventually removed from the platform for fear of violating Instagram terms. The videos, on whose compliance Instagram has not yet commented, were not filmed through the platform, so did not appear in the same style as natively-filmed content. It will be interesting to see if other brands go down this route.
American Express embed Basement Jaxx concert in a tweet
Amex UK last night streamed a live concert from London’s Somerset House, all embedded within a tweet. Fans could send shout-outs using the hashtag #BasementJaxxLive, 10 of which were read out during the set.
Time to gear up for @TheBasementJaxx live-streamed gig @SomersetHouse. Watch @ 9:30pm on our feed #BasementJaxxLive http://t.co/kwZQyfTC78
— American Express UK (@AmexUK) July 21, 2013
Honda outreaching with Rebecca Black Vines
Honda are responding to people who tweet using the hashtag #wantnewcar with humorous, personalised Vines, featuring ‘Friday’ singer Rebecca Black, as well asHonda’s own employees.
Hey @nickminers, we don’t have those at the Honda Summer Clearance Event. But we have @MsRebeccaBlack! http://t.co/SYKywDClZ5 #wantnewcar
— Honda (@Honda) July 15, 2013
Hey @bwidow752006, head to the Honda Summer Clearance Event & stop wondering: http://t.co/Tw83GrkWpX #WantNewCar
— Honda (@Honda) July 15, 2013
Captain Morgan targeting ads at Foursquare check ins
Rum brand Captain Morgan has started targeting ads at those who check in at certain locations on Foursquare, suggesting they order a drink containing the spirit. Now, when Foursquare users check in at certain bars or restaurants, they’ll receive something like the below:
This raises an interesting point about whether these ads were available to under-21s, on which Foursquare has yet to comment. Boldly, Captain Morgan have accepted the risks of underage users seeing the ads, in the knowledge that the percentage of Foursquare users who are over-21 exceeds the 71.6% bar set for an alcohol ad campaign.
My Nikon World makes everyone a photographer
Photography brand Nikon has produced a Facebook campaign that encourages users to create a photographer profile and upload photos to galleries in order to earn points and badges. Influencers will also be involved in ‘My Nikon World’, which looks to create an online community dedicated to sharing photographs, complete with a competitive element.
WWF buying up 404 pages on Russian social network
WWF is using 404 pages on the Russian social network Odnoklassniki to highlight the plight of various rare and endangered species, including the leopard, tiger, bison and snow leopard. Instead of receiving a standard message, users will be confronted by text stating that the animals in question are in danger of “not existing”.
Mastercard and Foursquare partner to fight cancer
Mastercard are offering to donate $0.01 to fighting cancer for every meal bought using their service worth over $10.00, up to a value of $4 million. They’ve partnered with Foursquare to spread awareness, with images like the below appearing on users’ smartphones.
ASDA helping mums to #savesummer
UK supermarket giant ASDA is helping mums to #savesummer, by suggesting things to make or cook with their children, including ice-cream burgers and Play-Doh dinosaurs, for which the components can all be bought via ASDA.com. Mums will be encouraged to share photos of their efforts on social media, using the hashtag #savesummer.
Buxton asks if Ashes fans have #gotthebottle
Water brand Buxton has created a campaign to celebrate its sponsorship of the Ashes, featuring large digital display boards at train stations across the UK on match days. These will feature tweets from fans and their own @GotTheBottle Twitter account, along with Ashes information and an image of Buxton brand ambassador, England captain Alastair Cook.
Vodafone’s holiday hashtag competition
UK mobile provider Vodafone has produced a Twitter competition that encourages followers to choose holiday destinations based on where certain hashtags are trending. Users choose a hashtag, such as #YOLO or #touristshit, then virtually book a holiday to the location where that hashtag is trending, in order to be in with the chance of winning a break.
Barbour’s 100 days of summer
Clothes brand Barbour, most famous for its wax country jackets popular in Chelsea, is running a summer-themed content stream on its Tumblr, with a new hashtag for each of the ’100 days of summer’. Fans are also being encouraged to share their own content to add to the brand’s, some of which appears as below:
Spotify’s super customer service
Spotify showed last week how good customer service can be. When a fan named Jelena Woehr sent in some positive feedback, she received the following playlist in return, complete with hidden message:
Fireball Whisky in trouble for Facebook posts
Fireball Whisky has had Facebook posts banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, on the grounds that they implied alcohol is indispensible, encourage excessive drinking and are likely to exploit the young, immature and vulnerable. The updates included links to student blogs and references to falling over, plus dumping your boyfriend in exchange for more whisky, so it’s pretty unsurprising that they fell foul of ad standards. This goes to show how important it is for brands to realise that Facebook content is strictly regulated, just like TV or print.
The Vatican offers indulgences to Pope’s Twitter followers
The Vatican is offering time off purgatory for followers of Pope Francis’s tweets. The move, which has to have one of the best prizes on offer for a social media competition, sees the Church’s increased attempts to embrace modern technology and specifically the social web. With Twitter accounts in 8 languages, it’s not clear if you get bonus points for how many you follow. Especially if you can’t read Latin.