Gushcloud: Mobilizing Social Media Marketing

 

SXSW is a sizzling hub for the rising stars of social media. Consequently, representing Mindjumpers at this year’s conference included meeting with a variety of these passionate and engaged newcomers in the social media ballgame (see my blog post on BigMarker.com, April 3rd 2012).

 

Mobilizing target networks online

During the inspiring days in Austin, I also had the chance to meet the co-founder and CEO of Gushcloud, Vincent Ha, for a chat about their new social media marketing platform. Gushcloud is a platform where brands are helped to actively mobilize their target groups across the various social media channels with just a few easy clicks.

 

Transparency of Community

The idea of Gushcloud, according to Vincent, is to create a social media marketing platform out of the ordinary, where companies can reach a number of target participants (“Gushers”), or influencers, and then mobilize the participants’ networks by rewarding these Gushers for sharing something in their social networks, downloading an application, blogging about a product launch or completing the marketing surveys etc.:

“Gushcloud is more than a social media marketing tool. It’s an open, transparent and growing community of influencers that brands can tap into.” Vincent Ha, co-founder and CEO of Gushcloud.

 

Growing at a great pace!

Launched on October 18th 2011, Gushcloud’s community now reaches close to 40 million people through Gushers’ sharing, tweeting, downloading applications and blogging about products, events or brands in their networks.

Vincent emphasizes that the reach of the community enables the Gushcloud team to ensure their clients a great return on the marketing money spent on the Gushers, seeing that they only reward for the “gushing” made by these and not for the further spread in their network.

 

How does it work?

Basically, let’s say a company rewards Gushers anywhere from $0.25 upwards for every tweet or link shared about a company’s new product. The outcome of a completed Gusher-task is then twofold: The Gusher gets rewarded and may enter a prize pool while the company gets exposure in the Gusher’s network. A network that has been specified to match the company’s target groups through the choice of Gushers within the Gushcloud community.

 

Presently, Gushcloud has been launched in Singapore and Malaysia; is in Beta for the United States and has offices in Indonesia and Australia coming up this year.

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.