The (R)evolution of Social Media Bloggers

The greatest thing about online media is that it is out of control. There is no censorship, it is not controlled (alright we are leaving Google and the Chinese government out of this one) and people write what they want.

What makes social media bloggers unique compared to all other online information is their voice. It’s a single person talking about what he or she cares and are most passionate about. A blogger owns his inspiration, his voice, and is ready to let the world know his own opinion, what he is supporting or if he is taking a stand against something. Bloggers are credible communicators, because what they express is their own.

Bloggers increase PR value

Causes or brands have started to reach out to bloggers due to the bloggers’ ability to create a buzz online and create awareness around a certain issue, campaign or product. They have the ability to greatly improve the visibility around a campaign or product in the social media sphere. Their links to whichever product or campaign being mentioned automatically improves search rankings for who or what they are promoting, and as such, bloggers are an incredible valuable marketing tool.

The credibility bloggers have built up over time shows that their reason for blogging about something (i.e. what they are ‘promoting’ or ‘marketing’) is driven by passion. Credibility and transparency is part of what makes bloggers so cool.

I have always considered bloggers to be somewhat of a grass root movement in the sense that they are fighting or toying around with their cause. However a new trend is emerging where bloggers are joining a network, where the top de la crème of bloggers are being paid for blogging or mentioning a cause a charity or a company wants a buzz created about on their blog. As a consequence, freelance bloggers are slowly emerging on the social media scene.

A number of bloggers are approached when campaigns start off to help promote a worthy cause they are interested in supporting or have previously shown interest in mentioning certain types of campaigns/products etc. Up to this point, famous bloggers have been doing this free of charge, but this is changing, and bloggers can now be hired for their promotional services. The issue that surfaces is whether this will make bloggers loose their credibility, as people who follow a specific blog or blogger will not be able to distinguish whether they are promoting it because they feel it is worth talking about or whether it is because they are being paid to create a buzz about a certain topic.

Acknowledge bloggers’ individual opinion

The approach to use if bloggers should remain credibility is to not pay bloggers for their opinion. You can still do blogger outreach offering the bloggers free hands in terms of shaping their own opinion about supporting a cause, a campaign or product. It’s simply a matter of asking them if they want to support the cause or want to endorse products that needs promoting.

There is nothing wrong with getting paid for what you do, and I am in favour of getting paid for hard labour. The problem here is that if you want your cause, campaign or product to be promoted and have a mention on a blog, this option will cost you something. I will refrain from elaborating on how unethical and morally wrong I feel this is, as the underlying issue here is the lack of credibility and trust in bloggers. A deeper and more crucial issue regarding this is the fact that it affects the credibility of the grass root bloggers. The lack of ability of audiences to identify transparency in who is promoting a cause or a product is an issue as the audience won’t know whether the bloggers are being paid to talk about it. It will definitely be interesting to follow this development over the next few months and see what happens. Word to the people!

Snapchat – Proof That Simplicity & Authenticity Wins

blogSnapchat has 100 million daily users, 9,000 snaps are shared per second, 10 billion videos are viewed per day and at 500 million Snapchat stories per day, it would take more than 158 years to watch an entire day of Snapchat stories. It’s no wonder that advertisers want a bite of it.

CEO Evan Spiegel describes Snapchat’s messaging as “conversational”, rather than “transactional”, which gives the impression you’re just talking to a friend. This whole implication has mass potential to change the way we see messaging and could ultimately become a revolution in chat. Since the mid-90s, SMS has been seen the same way, with mostly the UI advancing. Maybe it’s time for an overhaul.

 

Here & Now

Because of its “in the moment” nature, Snapchat began as a more personal and authentic alternative to Instagram and all its filters. And somehow, the further development of Lenses has been successfully implemented and hasn’t damaged the spontaneous “here and now”, authentic feel – it has combined filters with real-time.

Another reason engagement is so high on the platform is that there are no worries about content existing forever. 24 hours is the maximum amount of time it will stay live, through “Stories”. This is very likely to be a reason why people keep coming back so often – there may be a fear of missing out on snaps, as there is absolutely no way of viewing them after expiration.

 

The Drivers

Many celebrities are also helping the app’s growth by nailing the platform and making use of the unique features it offers. Ellen DeGeneres, Jared Leto, Miley Cyrus – they are all using it for its exclusivity and real-life, behind-the-scenes moments (that and the drawing feature).

On a similar note, influencers also play a large part of the Snapchat community nowadays, especially for brands. Many of the top Snapchat influencers are YouTube veterans, so they know how the game works and just need to adapt slightly.

Creating cool snaps on a regular basis requires a lot of resources for brands and the high expectation for authenticity can be hard to meet. This is probably the main reason why only the big players, such as Nike, PepsiCo and TRESemmé have been willing to go all in from the very early stages and why many brands are trying to take part through the influencers. On the back of the huge success of Instagram influencers, it allows brands to be present in snaps, with lower risk and is less effort than having their own channel. This also offers them the chance to leverage their learnings from Instagram.

 

Advertising Features

In January 2015, Snapchat introduced “Discover”, a place for advertisers and especially media outlets to publish short pieces of content. Shortly after, they incorporated Geofilters – something you can’t quite imagine working on any other social media network. This forms another source of revenue by inviting companies to make their own Geofilter for a fee.

More recently, Lenses is beginning to show its potential for brands too by harnessing the fun factor, then redirecting consumers to a related checkout. Movies like X-Men are an obvious choice for the platform due to the multiple characters, but the list of possibilities is endless when considering characters and even real-life personalities.

 

Yo!

While considering the subject of simplicity and why Snapchat has been so successful, the only other great app I’ve seen simpler is Yo, where a user simply sends another user the message “Yo” with one tap on their name. The initial intention with this app was to encourage people to say “I’ll ‘Yo’ you when I’m there”, eliminating the need for texting “I’m here”.

The app has been further developed with a new version pushed out in Feb 2015 and was valued over $10 million during a funding round back in 2014. Many brands are also seeking to gain access to their growing mobile audience through it – an audience partly created by Snapchat. The app now offers alerts and news from more than 150 services including BuzzFeed, NBA, Coinbase, TechCrunch, MTV, and more. It seems there’s strong proof then, that to invent something new, sometimes you just have to make something current even simpler.