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Why did Pokémon GO Take Social Media by Storm?

Posted on July 25, 2016 by Tarek Hakim

Tarek

Statistically speaking, you are either taking a break from playing Pokémon GO right now or simply sick of hearing everyone talk about it on social media and on the news. The success of the game came overnight, with an outstanding number of users that immediately began downloading the free app despite it being unavailable in most countries, with players looking up ways to download the game from third party app stores and bypassing the region lock of the game.

It is difficult to say whether the game became so popular solely due to the nostalgia it stirred in the generation that was born in the 90’s when the show was extremely popular or if it was caused by the domino effect that the sudden launch created on social media. But we can confirm that both of those factors were major players in achieving this.

Pokémon GO is not the first game to use AR (Augmented Reality) combined with GPS and maps, as this technology has been available and has been used before by many games like Ingress, Life is Crime, Parallel Kingdom and many more. While those games were certainly popular and attracted a lot of attention from mobile gamers, they barely scratched the surface in comparison to Pokémon GO, that managed to overtake the record of daily users on Android of the social media giant Twitter. Pokémon GO has even increased the value of Nintendo by $9 billion in just one week and helped Nintendo to become the most traded company by value of shares traded this century on the Tokyo stock market, surpassing the likes of Tokyo Electric, SoftBank and Nippon Steel, according to Bloomberg. This is all despite the fact that Nintendo only has 33% stake in Pokémon franchise.

This phenomenon is unprecedented in gaming history, even with AAA titles like GTA V, Halo, Call of Duty, etc… So how did The Pokémon Company & Niantec (the game’s developers) achieve these numbers?

The hype for Pokémon GO isn’t new, in-fact; the game has been grabbing gamers’ attention since it was teased by Satoru Iwata of Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokémon Company as an April Fools’ Day collaboration with Google in 2014, called Pokémon Challenge. That collaboration created a lot of buzz in the gaming world and Pokémon fans started demanding an actual game to be built on that premise. Ishihara was a fan of developer Niantic’s previous augmented reality game, Ingress, and saw the game’s concept as a perfect match for the Pokémon series. Niantic used data from Ingress to populate the locations for PokéStops and gyms within Pokémon Go.  The game was only officially announced on September 9th, 2015 where The Pokémon Company uploaded the game’s trailer on YouTube securing 35,978,235 views to date.

The game was only released in beta form in Japan to select testers in March 2016 and slowly began recruiting testers from different regions in the world. This caused some footage to be leaked by some of the beta testers, which only further increased the hype as gamers started drawing speculation and buzzing around what the game would be like once it is released. The Pokémon Company did not give a specific date for the game’s release until early July when they announced its release in 3 countries only on July 7th 2016.

The Pokémon Company’s silence about the game and limited advertising, with only two trailers being released, caused the gaming community to speculate and create this hype. Furthermore, the game’s gameplay mechanic of forcing players to move about has caused authorities to highlight their concerns on the safety issues that the game poses, which in turn raised the awareness and exposure of the game on press and social media alike.

Whatever it is that stirred this mania, it is clear that the game is only going to increase in popularity as it becomes officially available in more countries. While some argue that the hype will die out soon and the player base will be limited to those loyal to the franchise, Niantic promises constant updates and patches to improve gameplay by including new mechanics (Pokémon trading, trainer vs. trainer battles, etc.) and expanding the game’s Pokémon roster (as they currently only have 151 Pokémon out of 721), it will surely be interesting to see how they will try and maintain this massive player base.

You can go back to playing the game now! Happy catching and remember, don’t Pokémon & drive.

The Power of the Fifth Estate

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Mara Carpencu

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Up until the last decade, the press held the crown of the mass influencer and news disseminator. The Fourth Estate – the media – had access to information, events, people and places that the public could not reach. Journalists made a career out of asking the right questions, reporters were the public’s eyes and ears, the evening news anchor was eagerly awaited by millions of TV viewers and presenters of popular shows became opinion leaders in their own right. Fast forward to today and a press badge is no longer the only key to open all areas, with the internet revolution giving power to virtually everyone to inform and be informed in real time.

Social media and blogging allow ordinary people to become influencers, able to reach a global audience that some traditional media cannot. Anyone with online access can start a blog and gain visibility across the world, amassing loyal followers that can elevate their profile. There is no previous experience required, or need for relevant degrees or qualifications, no specific skills to become a blogger. All you need is passion and determination to make a name of yourself. They, the voices of the people, have become the fifth power.

While not all bloggers reach influencer status, they are more numerous than editors, with many of them specializing in certain fields they believe they have expertise in, such as fashion, beauty, food, tech, travel and so on. With tens of thousands or even millions of followers, some bloggers are overtaking the audiences of traditional media and have earned an increasingly important role in brands’ marketing, as well as PR.

Brands have been incorporating blogger engagement in their PR strategies because they have understood how to reach their target audiences through endorsements and recommendations from the people that their customers actually listen to. An outfit worn by a high-profile fashion blogger at an event can become a best-seller, the make-up product used by a beauty blogger may become a favorite, a tech blogger’s review of a gadget can determine a potential customer to buy it. That is the undisputed power of blogging that brands, as well as the bloggers themselves, are banking on. In fact, successful bloggers have made a living and a career on it.

With high number of followers come high demands, and influencers don’t shy away from asking hefty amounts of money from brands that want to be reviewed or mentioned in social media posts. For a long time, the audiences were oblivious of how certain brands end up being promoted on their favorite blogger’s pages, which meant endorsements were perceived as authentic and genuine recommendations.

However, influencers need to understand that with great power comes great responsibility. Once a post is paid, it is no longer an “honest review”, but disguised advertising aimed at people who most often cannot make the distinction. Just like media can be bought through advertising plans, so too can bloggers. And just like adverting in traditional media is clearly mentioned as such and set apart from editorial, so too should bloggers mention which of their posts are sponsored, in order to respect their followers and not mislead them.

If influencers are to maintain their power, they must prove their opinion cannot be bought, since the power lies in their ability to express their opinion freely. Only those that can maintain their independence should truly be called “influencers”.

5 ways to use videos for your social media marketing

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Linda Edirisuriya

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The world of social media changes at an incredibly rapid pace, with tons of new platforms created every year and marketers scrambling to stay on top of the trends and innovations. One of the new trends for 2016 is live video streaming. Our world has become increasingly visual and businesses across many industries have been trying to find effective and unique ways to connect with their audience. Video has emerged as an effective and striking way to engage consumers, and live streaming can harness this medium’s popularity to create personal and insightful content for users.

If you are looking for ways on how to increase your engagement online, using videos on your social media platform is the way to go. It’s time to adapt your social media strategy to incorporate videos and live stream and be part of the “now”.

 

Here are some tips to help you brush up your video skills:

  1. Experiment With Video Lengths

When it comes to the ideal video duration, a lot depends on the type of video you want to share with your audience. Testing different video lengths will give you an idea of what works best for you.

Before you get started shooting or editing your video, you should know the maximum video lengths per platform. These include:

Facebook: 120 minutes

Twitter recommends keeping videos under 30 seconds

Instagram: 60 seconds

Snapchat: 10 seconds

  1. Broadcast Live

Facebook Live video lets businesses and users broadcast videos to their audiences in real time from their smartphones. You can see the number of users watching and users can comment on the video in real time. You can also address comments directly as the video plays.

One study found that viewers spend 3x more time watching live videos than videos that aren’t broadcasting in real time.

Live videos, on average, get more engagement and views than regular videos.

Users automatically opt in to get notifications when someone they follow is “going live,” which increases visibility. Once your live video is complete, you can save your live video to your timeline so users who missed it live can watch it later.

Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat also provide platforms for live video sharing.

  1. Appeal to Emotion

Emotions can drive people to take action, and videos that appeal to users’ emotions can resonate and stick with the people who watch them. Appealing to viewers’ emotions also increases the likelihood that people will respond to your well-placed call to action.

Videos are ideal for maximizing the emotional impact of your content. It can make all the difference to use voice inflections or subtle changes in facial expressions. Videos feel more real and alive than other types of media, and they can help you deliver a big emotional punch in a shockingly short time frame.

For emotional appeal, consider all aspects of the video. Choose language, background music, and even fonts so they come together and match the feeling you’re trying to evoke. Plus, happiness counts as an emotion you want to evoke in users. Showing uplifting or inspirational content is a great way to leave viewers with a positive association with your brand.

  1. Add a Featured Video on Facebook

When users visit your Facebook business page, they’ll immediately see some of your posts and your “About” section. In addition, they can see a featured video placed below the profile picture and the “people who like this page” box.

The featured video is a huge opportunity to make a first impression with your business, or at least your Facebook page. Overviews are great, but you might feature a video to highlight a new product, service or campaign or tell a story that resonates with your audience.

Featured videos can offer you control over a potential customer’s first impression of your brand or page.

To add a featured video to your page, click on your page’s Videos tab, select the option that says Feature a Video on Your Page. Choose a video from your library, press Enter, and you’re all set.

  1. Take Viewers Behind the Scenes

One reason users follow brands on social media is the illusion of transparency. People believe they’re getting to know what your brand really is and what it stands for. Because of this, videos that take users behind the scenes can be powerful brand-building tools.

Show users how products are made or who makes them can lead to major increases in brand loyalty. This follows the same psychology as storytelling, where users can connect to real people.

Behind-the-scenes looks can increase brand familiarity and loyalty, which are huge benefits.

 

If you aren’t using video in your social media marketing yet, you should be. A third of all online activity is spent watching videos. And with 90% of users saying that they found product videos helpful when making buying decisions, you want to make sure your hat is in the social video ring.

These 5 tips can help increase engagement, conversion rates, and brand promotion with just a few quick changes, improving both social video and social media marketing success.

Video marketing shouldn’t cause intimidation, regardless of your company’s size and resources. They add fantastic interactive elements to social media content catalogues, but more importantly, they tap into over 400 million users of Instagram, 150 million daily active users on Snapchat and 1.59 billion users on Facebook. That’s an audience too big to ignore, on platforms too powerful to neglect.

 

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