How many brands do you ‘Like’ on Facebook? Do you really feel like an advocate for them? Do they have your seal of approval? Or your Lovemark? At Seal we’re always evaluating new ways to utilise social networking effectively. Randall Stross at The New York Times shared how social networks are becoming smaller, introducing apps that are focusing their design on network intimacy.
Facebook’s acquisition of the photo-sharing app Instagram clearly displays how Facebook has reasonable concern over both content creation, advertising routes and sharing. Indeed Marketing Mag and many other outlets contemplated whether Instagram will meet the same fate as so many other Facebook acquisitions. In his article, Stross re-acquaints us with the ‘Dunbar Number’ suggesting an individual can only really have 150 meaningful relationships. Start-ups such as Path and FamilyLeaf are cashing in on this intimacy, whilst ever popular app Foursquare invites us to ‘check in’ to venues and events, sharing our physical location, rewarding us for frequency and volume.
So Facebook has realised how crucial a marriage is between our physical and online social transactions. The link between online and physical communities is proving to be through mobile applications and web apps. Keith Teare at TechCrunch outlines the mobile paradox, an issue being faced by desktop providers.
The Times Magazine Raconteur feature on customer loyalty (17 April) outlines four of the latest loyalty apps, including Nectar which is now on android devices. The same feature displays some interesting statistics; one concerning us has been that only 15% of loyalty programme members have been contacted. Neil Davey explains ‘if brands are going to achieve loyalty, they must first understand it’ - it’s no secret that the key to this loyalty is through communities. Then how do these communities become interactive?
Tim Ryan at the PSFK blog outlined some key gaming applications that help us build these hyper-local communities through social networking entertainment. So how can a tablet or mobile telecommunications device really be ‘post-PC’ if you need to sync the device to a desktop for updates and content? As brands have the capability to create a solid fan base on social networking websites, generating conversation, likes, Twitter activity and online advocacy, we believe the way in which consumers are contributing content to social networking applications is changing the way public relations is performed.
The question now is whether this conversation online can continue offline, creating real brand supporters in our crucially intimate communities.