Gone are the days when marketing comprised of blindly using a push and pull strategy informing consumers about the features of your product to convince them to make a purchase.

Positioning and branding using digital media is absolutely essential to cut through the competition, get your brand ‘out there’ and retain loyalty by having people genuinely believe in your brand.

But, what exactly comprises of the word “brand”? Is it just your organisations vision and mission? Is it what you tell the customers, or is it the other way around – perception of what the people think of your brand!  Some of the best brands worldwide have adopted the golden triangle strategy for social media marketing and digital strategies.

  • Promise- The customer wants to know what are your deliverables, what do you assure them, what exactly are the benefits they derive out of purchasing your products. If the promise is delivered, the positive experiences will definitely be reflected in ROI and sales. Moreover, satisfied customers will share, retweet and blog about your brand delivering its promise. Reliability is key at this stage
  • Beliefs – Transferring the beliefs of your brand and what you stand for to the customers as well. Synchronised digital and social media marketing efforts will help you to achieve this – either through subliminal messages or an ‘out there’ approach.
  • Story – Products and services are no longer faceless things purchased to fulfil needs. The rich history and heritage behind your brand should be highlighted in your communication, on your website etc. The story may prove to be inspiring to consumers and they may identify with your journey.

Having genuine new content is very important as well. You don’t want to be one of those brands who’s pages are just retweets of repins  of reblogs !


If you follow this golden triangle for new age media branding, rather than a haphazard online communication plan, it will surely help you to get a genuine base of organic followers and believers in your brand !


Tags : , , Marketing, Social Media, Technology | add comments »

Everyone ‘does’ social media. Everyone says they are on some social media platform or the other. The latest Buzz now a days for every business is always remaining on top of mind of the consumer. We have been trying to grab the consumer’s eyeballs for years using traditional media. However, now a days with the increasing importance of digital and online media due to rise in smartphones and tablets, it has become imperative to connect with customers using new age tools and new media.

With the increasing emphasis on social media, almost every brand has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. But, in order to cut through the crowd, what customers are actually looking for are testimonials, and first hand reviews from other customers at the Zero moment of truth. One of the best new ways to reach potential target audience is through blogs.

Did you know – a  blog is a piece of a puzzle in a web of intertwined social media platforms – and making them all work together will help you get the most mileage out of your posts. Many firms are resorting to blogger outreach in addition to supporting digital media.

Promoting blog posts is critical for adding to your readership and getting others to share your unique content. Some tips by Kenneth Cameron, J.D. are given below -

Getting the Most Out of Blog Posts on Social Media: 5 Tactics

  • Use Twitter to share the link to your blog post. Start with an initial tweet just after the post is published and then continue to create unique tweets throughout the week to share the same post. (Try turning the title into a question! That’s a great way to engage on Twitter.)
  • Use an image from your blog post to share the link on Pinterest. Just remember to tailor this content to Pinterest – which is image-heavy.
  • Instagram. Seems like an unlikely way to share a blog post, right? Wrong! Using a fun image to describe your latest post with a caption like: New Post Up on the Blog! Is a great way to intrigue your readers? Instagram is also an excellent spot to capitalize on the use of popular hashtags.
  • Post links to your blog on Google+. Not only is Google+ a great addition to your Search Optimization Efforts, you’ll find a whole different community of potential readers.
  • Don’t forget about Facebook! Remember to tag any people or companies mentioned in your blog post – this will help increase shares of your link. Oh, and a great image goes a long way here too.


Tags : , , , , , Innovation, Marketing, Social Media, Technology | add comments »

Do’s and Don’t of Social Media for Startups

Posted by Arshya on Monday Feb 24, 2014

futurON had a great time at Social Media Week Bangalore. Experts and industry veterans spoke about their experiences, experiments, tips, tricks, challenges and lessons with social media (Click here to see the schedule for the week).

We were excited with the opportunity to represent futurON as a speaker at the event. Upon requests from some keen audience members and industry fellows, here I am converting my presentation into a blog. Will try to keep it short and simple! (Here are some pictures of the futurON talk)

Arshya Lakshman speaking at SMWBangalore

Arshya Lakshman speaking at SMWBangalore

Marketing within a startup life cycle

Before we jump into the do’s and don’ts, we need to understand a few parameters to this presentation.

1) Marketing needs and methods vary depending on the life cycle of a startup

> Pre launch: If you haven’t launched your startup, typically your marketing efforts are passive. You would spend time in social media listening exercises, research on competition or target audience and possibly focus your marketing plan to show the ‘Go-to-Market Strategy & growth plans’ of your startup to venture capitalists or angel investors.

> Post launch: The marketing efforts change in this phase, they start focusing on the brand awareness and brand image to various stakeholders etc. In case of startups the most important stakeholder is the customer, so the marketing needs tend to focus more on the customer in the first year or so.

In the presentation (and blog) I focus on the post launch stage. If you want me to write another blog for a pre-launch, please post in the comments below and I shall do so.

2) Social Media has increased exponentially in the number of users in the last few years – but many people think that the reason behind this is because it’s FREE and EASY. I would like to debunk this myth and tell all readers even before we kick of the Do’s and Don’ts that this is a myth. Social media is neither free nor easy.

3) The last point before we jump into the do’s and don’ts is that….well,  there are no real do’s and don’ts! Why? Social media is still at a very nascent stage. The so called ‘experts’ of the industry themselves are learning by experimenting. Unfortunately, a lot of these experiments happen at the expense of the clients – but the relationship of hit or miss with social/marketing experiments is a love story with a long past.

Therefore, in this presentation I am going to simply share my experiences of success and failures with social – which can be taken as do’s and don’ts – I hope we can all learn together to create beautiful and successful social plans with minimum errors, mistakes, failures and don’ts! Here we go…

Social Media and it's relationship to a marketing plan

Link your social media to the bigger picture!

DON’T: Make social media a stand-alone plan
DO: Link it to the bigger picture – your marketing plan

As simple as this sounds, it’s pretty much a gospel truth. Before you ask how to do social, think how to BE social and even before that think about how social will tie back to your entire marketing plan. So if you have email campaigns, videos, customer service phone calls or any other marketing activity – think about how you can include you Facebook or Twitter in these. Also, think visa-versa. How can your social media include various aspects of your marketing?

To quote a simple example from futurON’s learning. For one of our clients from the finance industry, we send out a monthly newsletter. The content of the newsletter is heavily dependent on what really worked on their Facebook page. So apart from company news, any topical company blogs, posts that got shared/liked the most etc., they also have a screen shot of what the community buzz is on their Facebook page. When we started doing this – we saw an immediate increase in their Likes and comments! Simple but affective.

DON’T: Make social a platform for ‘ME TALK’
DO: Talk about things that you know your audience will relate to – in and around your core industry

We all love to talk about services, products, achievements and ‘offers’. Especially when one is a startup – it’s very easy to get into this spiral because it seems that you want the world to know everything about how awesome your new company is! However remember, especially since your company has a low brand recall at this point, people might get put off or disinterested very easily. So make your content a good mix of topics that you know your target audience will enjoy reading – and also relate it to your company/industry/product/service!

To quote a simple example from our learning, the company that comes to my mind is a Healthcare Insurance provider. Now, knowing that their core product is dental insurance we spoke about health care, dental tips, dental facts, interviews with doctors, affect of dental health on overall health etc. We then threw in product or brand posts in between these topics so that the audience not only relates to the brand – but also trusts it more. It also shows the depth of knowledge, the interest in customer health and a sense of concern for the customer’s interest in topical posts. Worked like a charm!

Don't use too many social platforms to start with

Pick your most important platform and be awesome at it!

DON’T: Use too many platforms
DO: Be awesome at a couple and expand.

It’s very easy to just open an account in every possible platform because it’s free and looks easy. However, I strongly believe it’s better to stick to a few platforms that you know you can do well – depending on the amount of time and knowledge you have. Deciding which platform should be based on where you think you audience will be and which platform gives you the best type of content space for your industry or offering.

futurON’s decision for the launch of our client’s music album was pretty straight forward. We chose YouTube. Soundcloud and Facebook. We knew that the client had a tight budget, limited time period (because it’s for the launch of an album) and wanted maximum number of people to listen to the album and ‘Buy’ it. The combination of videos and music, along with sharing that on Facebook worked brilliantly. The album got pushed to the top of the charts on iTunes and great sales. Job done.

DON’T: Be social ad-hoc
DO: PLAN..Plan…Plan!

Since we treat our business page like our personal social page or because we think social media doesn’t require the same amount of time/energy as other marketing activities, most of us (especially startups) tend to post things on social ad-hoc. Unless the posts are topical or you are a news channel – you most certainly can plan your posts.

How does this help?
➢ This helps you schedule your posts in advance so no last minute glitches
➢ It helps you spend more time in measurement, analytics and understanding of you posts. You can see check out when your posts have most reach, when is your audience online the most, which type of posts work?
➢ It helps you spend time on topical things when need be and not worry about regular posts.
➢ Less stress about hunting around for content in last minute.

I cannot stress enough about the importance of planning – we do it with all our clients and it helps the pages look better and get more engagement. End of the day your social page is like a party that you are organising – while the audience is the guest list. Would you not plan for your party? Especially when it means business!?

Content is kind - especially now!

Social media is also a marketing tool!

DON’T: Recycle your content without giving it credit and a layer of intelligence
DO: Understand your brand tonality, templates, colours

It’s easy to start posting as soon as you register a business page. However avoid making that mistake. Before you start posting, understand you brand voice and think about how your page will look – the colours, templates etc. Also, if you are posting content from other sources – always give the source it’s due credit. To make your page more credible – remember to add a layer of your own intelligence to recycled content, so that people don’t look at you as a brand with an identity crisis or lack of intelligence or lack of content.

Quick tip: Use content buckets! For one of our clients we use about six type of content units – motivation, education of audience, brand, product, client testimonials and topical events. It works really well since we don’t repeat the same type of content unit too often, mix it up and work on analysing what works best and tweaking it – instead of hunting around for content to post!

DON’T: Expect a free ride
DO: Remember that social media is also a marketing tool – have a budget and time allocated to it

As discussed earlier – it’s not free and it’s not easy. It’s easy to start and free to open an account – but to get people seeing you posts, getting good posts and for engagement on the page, we need to have a budget.

Budget for what?
➢ Time allocation – Either your own time (since your time is money – it is still a budget) or a resource whom you hire internally or externally to maintain the page for you.
➢ Creative content – Creating great content needs originality and creativity. This might require a designer.
➢ Analytics – Even if you use free tools, you need someone who can analyse it and tweak your posts accordingly.
➢ Advertising – After speaking to many people from Facebook, LinkedIn and the likes, it’s pretty clear that they want you to understand that their platforms are also a marketing tool. They want you to spend money on advertising to help you reach the right kind of audience. Even if you have the likes or followers – for your posts to reach your entire audience – you still need to advertise. So even if it’s a tiny budget – allocate a small budget for boosting, promoting, advertising and then analysing your page.

Social media is awesome! Nurture it

Social media is awesome..nurture it!

These are my lists of a few Do’s and Don’ts. This list if certainly not exhaustive, however it sure is a start. Social media is awesome, a lot of fun…some times a bit complicated if you don’t spend enough time to learn and understand it. But if you nurture it and link it to the bigger picture – it has a ton of potential.

To be fantastic at it – engage, BE social and most importantly ‘Respect the audience’. They don’t want to be sold to all the time!

Like always…look forward to your comments below!

Tags : Marketing, Social Media | 2 comments »

Web fads – is this what success looks like?

Posted by futurON Ltd on Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Certainly seems like it! Brace yourselves, this is the new face of celebrity-dom (and their behinds)

Miley Cyrus's performance at the VMA's. Where's Hannah Montana gone?

A drunk Justin Beiber attacking paparazzi. Is this the new face of Celebrity-dom?











So, it really took us a lot of effort to find this picture of a drunk Justin Bieber lunging at the paparazzi. All we can say is, well done to his PR firm for keeping the myriad of others off the web. Or maybe it’s so offensive that it isn’t allowed in our region (remember that message that popped up when you tried to watch Miley Cyrus’ MTV VMA performance and you had to sign in to show age proof to watch a bad quality one anyway?) Yeah! That’s what we’re talking about.

So, what happened here? Why did Disney’s darling and Usher’s protégé go wild? Mashable called it a childhood-ruining performance by Miley Cyrus. And Justin Bieber’s public meltdown isn’t really setting any standards for growing up gracefully.

Cut to their managers and media team – sure these once-kids are popular and everybody is talking about them. But does it count for success when people of your own fraternity look at you with disgust?

The Smith Family react to Miley's VMA performance

Drake reacts to Miley's VMA performance









The answers to these questions are really subjective, hence looking into the thought process of either the stars or their media agencies will be futile. Instead, we’d like to focus on the social media angle to all this.

The social media factor

Apart from being runaway successes in the States, both Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have a huge fan following world over. A lot of this can be attributed to their social media presence. An article on Mashable called Miley Cyrus and Her Social Media Save is testimony to the fact that public images can be influenced and swung by controlled social media presence.

But what are the parameters of success on social media? Popularity, influence or both. This article called How Klout Is Twerking Your Mind About Influence answers some very pertinent questions.

Whatever the marketing strategy, the real question is, how long can this last? Is anyone thinking about a long-term benefit here? Or is this just that?

Here are some tips we could take from both Miley Cyrus’ and Justin Bieber’s marketing teams. Find out how Justin Bieber is Out Marketing Your Marketing Team and why we’re still talking about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance more than a month after it happened! Seriously, think about it.

Closer to home, there are no real raging successes due to social media but we do have the occasional Rakhi Sawant spring up, crying media every chance she got. And there was Poonam Pandey who came to the limelight only due to antics like promising to pose nude if India won the cricket world cup. But do these really count as social media marketing or are they just blatant publicity stunts? Now, that’s a topic for another blog altogether. :)

Let us know if you liked the article in the comments below. We look forward to your thoughts


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The social media frenzy around Miss America

Posted by futurON Ltd on Monday Sep 23, 2013

Sometimes people on social media have the tendency to go crazy – and we all witnessed that after Miss New York, Nina Davuluri won the Miss America pageant.

For all those who haven’t caught up with the momentous occasion yet, here it is:


Crowning of the new Miss America

Nina Davuluri was the subject of a tirade of racist remarks on Twitter after she was crowned, oh wait, as she was being crowned. The new Miss America showed immense gratitude as she gave her first speech. Take a look at what she had to say and a few things you didn’t know about her. She also spoke to Bloomberg TV after the pageant about how she survived the hate:


Nina Davuluri: How she survived the hate

Diversity is one of the more significant things she touched upon when she spoke. The world as an entity is embracing diversity, and the support and adulation she received was way more than the temporary backlash.

It was a proud moment for the world – an American of Indian descent won the coveted beauty title of the land. It only reflects how the world is becoming more inclusive, tolerant and all-encompassing. And kudos to the United States, the world’s biggest superpower is demonstrating it in every sense of the word.

Social media – the facilitator

We cannot overlook the role social media has to play in creating a connected world. Thanks to the wonderful world of the web, there is less opacity, more transparency and a great understanding among people, today.

So where there were people who made unjust remarks on Twitter, there were people standing up for the new Miss America in full support, and in larger numbers. And this highlights the point about justice in social media that Ms Davuluri speaks of – where positivity surpassed the overall negativity.  Accounts that create disparity on social platforms get initial traction but not the long term benefit in comparison with accounts that spread positivity. In fact, social platforms can delete these accounts for spamming or spreading hatred – as they did in this case. Being connected to people across the world should be the reason for more acceptance because one becomes more knowledgeable about other people and their cultures. For instance, the very fact that someone called her an Arab is telling of how ignorant the person is, and how connected with the world they actually are on social media. Some of the Tweeple apologized for their offensive tweets and some remained remorseless as can be seen here.

This debacle is a classic example of what NOT to do on social media. It is a place to collaborate and learn, not propagate hate and intolerance. Social media is a huge space to create and bring change – whether it was the Anna Hazare movement or the Nirbhaya rape case. Let’s use it to spread a positive change.

Here at futurON, we thought this video by YouTuber – iiSuperwomanii – sums up our thoughts on this matter. Enjoy!

Tags : , , , , , , , , , Social Media, Technology | add comments »

There is a whole lot going on out there with regard to education and new ways to disseminate it – and social media is a front-running contender. So what are you going to read here that you haven’t read elsewhere? Let’s highlight the objectives:

  1. A look at the future of education in India. What could be, if we used technology?
  2. The global scenario and work being done world over. Assistance for teachers in the form of blogs, infographics and tools.
  3. The futurON Take

To begin with, we’d like you to consider this:

Scenario 1

Rani and Raju go to school. As in any school, they learn five subjects and two languages. They’re studious, take notes in class, solve problems, ask teachers doubts, study for the final exams and pass with great grades.


This is how most of us have schooled.


Now get this:

Scenario 2

Rani and Raju go to school. They have fun, participate in extra-curricular activities, take notes, solve problems and go home. But before going home, their History teacher gives them homework to read up about the Mughal era.

After getting home, they finish their homework and logon to the social media education tool that their school automatically registers them on, during induction. They see that their History teacher has started a new discussion on the Mughal era. The children participate in the discussion by presenting, countering and debating points with their peers as their teacher moderates the discussion. She then conducts a pop quiz in the end to test how much was learned from the discussion and grades the students.

The students understand the nuances of the subject this way. Based on their performance in the pop quiz, they know how they should approach questions and answer them. The children then appear for their exams well-rounded and knowledgeable about the subject.

This is an ideal case scenario. We’re not saying schools must function this way – but how awesome would it be if they did?!

We understand that it is difficult to move from a chalk-board to key-board style of teaching. But given the pace at which the younger generation picks up on technology, it is inevitable.

Have we made progress?

It is time educators get their act together – and some of them are. If not aggressively, there is a small rising tide somewhere waiting to become the big social media wave in the education system.

futurON spoke with Ms Vijaylakshmi Subramanian, Principal of MCTM CC Matric Higher Secondary School, based in Chennai, India. On being asked about the role of social media in education, she said, “If they (students) are guided, it could be a wonderful tool to learn.” She was all for the medium, but laid emphasis on the fact that children are vulnerable and must be taught how to use the medium positively.

What seemed to be lacking, however, was an awareness among the educators and teaching staff, but in this regard Ms Subramanian said that educators around the world are connected today through professional social media platforms. She for instance, makes it a point to network with educators across the globe through groups and discussions on these professional networking sites and hence is in-the-know of the developments and progress in the field of education, world over.

We also came across an article in which some other educators say they believe this model can work out (albeit for higher education, at graduation level and such). But it has its pros and cons that have been highlighted in this article.

What our global counterparts are up to?

Globally, there is more work being done on the matter. For instance, there’s more content for the education and awareness of teachers and how they can incorporate social media into their curriculum.

Mashable’s article called The Teacher’s Guide to Social Media outlines the don’ts of social media for educators and edSocialMedia’s article called A visual guide to using social media highlights how an educator can effectively use social media to teach. There are also several easy-to-use tools that educators can employ in their teaching methodology.

The futurON Take: We believe education will give rise to a thinking generation and what better medium to reach out to the younger generation than the one they understand best – social media. It must be looked at as a productive medium rather than a disruptive one. And this is a good time to begin. :)

Tell us what you thought about the article? Where do you think we stand, as a nation, in this regard? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Reading


Tags : , , , , , , , , , Education, Social Media | add comments »

Google+: A force to be reckoned with

Posted by Mallika on Wednesday Sep 4, 2013



For one thing I was forced to get a G+ account because there was a pop-up on every Google window that I don’t have one.

And just when I thought I had evaded the pains of signing up, I HAD to open one because I had to +1 something to see more details.

And that’s how I was bullied into opening a G+ account :)

My thoughts: Why do I need this? Everyone I want to be in touch with is on Facebook! (Or Twitter, or LinkedIn – these cover all categories – good friends, just friends, acquaintances, colleagues, professional network et al.)

I’m sure you’ve thought of it, too. So, where does Google+ figure in this competitive social media space? And what chances of survival does it have in comparison with social media mammoth – Facebook?

Here’s an interesting infographic I found, and must say, was quite surprised with what I learnt.

Facebook vs. Google+

Infographic - Facebook vs. Google+


Why Google+?

Having seen that the entire objective of Google+ was starkly different from Facebook’s, the concept of Circles started making perfect sense, to me.

With Google+, it’s not so much about personal connections as it is about common interests. So, the whole idea that anybody on the Google network can add you to their Circles – means they want to connect with you because of a common interest/opinion they share. Which is why you can go easy on your privacy settings, so you can keep browsing away and +1- ing away on the Google+ network (the option to lock, protect or guard your data is always available).

But since, we’re all tuned to the Facebook way of functioning, this seems a bit too intrusive to some of us. We need to un-Facebook ourselves to understand the functionality and actual potential of Google+.

But that’s only as far as your personal page and your personal interests go – when it comes to business and marketing, it’s a whole other ball game.

Here’s an interesting article I found on SocialMedia Examiner on why you should not overlook Google+ when it comes to marketing. The article also includes a podcast of an interview with Jesse Stay, the author of several books including Google+ for Dummies and Google+ Marketing for Dummies.

He cites 4 ways that Google+ can help your marketing and hence your business:

  • Improve your search results in Google
  • Bring social connections into your YouTube videos
  • Add a CRM experience into Gmail and Google Calendar
  • Build connections through Google Hangouts

Business Insider, too, has an interesting article on the rise of Google+ which includes some great data and analysis.

So, it won’t be the best thing to write off Google+ yet. Don’t be swayed by the beautiful user interface (UI), user experience (UX) or the cool Hangout communities. Google has entered the space for the long haul and as I said – it’s a force to be reckoned with!

Let us know what you think of the article. Would you like to see a part 2 on best practices? Write to us in the comments below.


Please note: The opinions expressed here are purely the author’s and not the company’s. All data and facts have been sourced from third party sites.



Tags : , , , , , , , Marketing, Social Media | add comments »

Who says Instagram isn’t for everyone?

Posted by futurON Ltd on Thursday Aug 22, 2013


It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is or even what its nature is – if you’re on Instagram, your business is beautiful pictures. And if you can connect with people through your pictures, there’s nothing that can stop you from succeeding.

Here are 3 brands you’d have never thought could be runaway hits on Instagram:


1. Maersk Line

Maersk Line is the world’s largest shipping container company

Maersk Line is the world’s largest shipping container company













It’s a wonder how a shipping container company can connect with people at large. But one look at the number of followers will answer that question. Each time Maersk Line shares a picture, it’s accompanied by a caption or description with the location of the ship and at what point in time (season, time of the day) the picture was taken. Sailors, boat enthusiasts, travelers, adventurers, naval officers and even photographers are a part of this community built by Maersk Line.


2. PayPal

PayPal is a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet

PayPal is a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet













PayPal took a unique approach called re-imagining money, through which they highlighted the experiences that the PayPal service enables. It is a sort of adventure diary of guest Instagrammers on the PayPal account. The result of this is beautiful pictures and a direct connect with audiences.


3. Lexus

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation













Lexus and more than 200 Instagrammers joined hands to create a stop-motion film using only pictures taken through mobile devices. They called it LexusInstafilm – take a look at the creativity that ensued and how it all came together. You can never go wrong with a strategy like this!

On Instagram, the idea is to celebrate the power of instant photography. And that’s what these brands have done on different scales.


7 things you can take away from their success stories

  • You need a clear strategy to get started on Instagram – Who is your target audience? What are you going to say to them? What should they expect from your page?
  • The nature of your business is not a limiting factor to venture into Instagram
  • Your brand positioning can be different and more creative on this platform
  • It is an interactive medium and the more your audience participates and contributes, the richer your content
  • People are your biggest strength! Talk to them, take their advice, make them a part of your brand
  • On Instagram, the good can be made better and the pretty prettier
  • See how you can enhance the utility of the platform (like in the case of Lexus)

And don’t forget your filters and frames – they are imperative to giving your pictures a finesse. And the hashtags will help other interested people find you easily.

In case you’re still wondering how the Nikes and Burberrys of the world jumped out of billboards and magazines to enter our world through our smartphones. We can tell you one thing for sure, the first thing they did was get an Instagram account! And that’s where you should begin, too.

See our previous post about Best practices for Instagram to know how you can get started.

We at futurON would like to know what you thought about this article. Did it help you or not? Did it give you more clarity on how this medium can be used? Post a comment and let us know.


Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Marketing, Social Media, Technology | add comments »

The Billion Dollar Tweet

Posted by Saahil on Tuesday May 7, 2013

It was 10:30 pm in Bangalore. I distinctly remember the rumble of the thunder and the silver spark amidst the orange sky.

I decided to hit the bed early, for the fear of thunder raising its decibels and the love of silver in the sky. The rain in the air was moistening the eyes and making it heavy and droopy. I decided to go on twitter one last time for the daily dose of news. Then at 10:38 pm I read a tweet from the Associated Press about bomb blasts at White House and that Barack Obama is injured. This particular tweet pumped unquantifiable adrenaline in my blood stream. I raced to the television only to see the towering sixes of Chris Gayle, repeatedly; a bombing outside the French embassy in Tripoli and an interview of a gay activist who was speaking in a heavy French accented English on his triumph in Paris. There was zilch news on the ‘purported’ blasts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Then I realized that the Associated twitter handle has been hacked by the pro-Assad Syrian ‘electronic’ army. Then amidst all the rain and thunder I started reading investigating more only to realize that the High Frequency Trading (HFT) algorithm had picked up the tweet and started a mass exodus from the various bourses. Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 1%. In just two minutes it fell from 14700 points to 14554, a drop of 146 points.

This ‘short-lived hoax on twitter briefly erased $200 billion of value from US stock markets. This hoax opened a Pandora box of vulnerabilities of financial markets apropos Twitter. We should also view it the other way, the vulnerabilities of computerized trading programs that buy and sell shares without human interventions apropos social media.

The two-minute selling spree left many traders stunned and dismayed, even though the market quickly recovered the losses afterward.

“It’s frustrating and scary that a tweet can erase hundreds of billions from the market in a short time, but that’s the world we live in,” said R.J. Grant, associate director of equity trading at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials, I have read, are looking into trading activity that took place in response to the AP tweet, according to a spokesman, who said the agency routinely looks into irregular market action. Regulators looking into the activity said it was too early to tell if the tweet was intended to disrupt the market. Jenny Shearer, an FBI spokeswoman in Washington, said the bureau is also investigating the incident.

This thunderous night was proving to be, at least for those two minutes, a-la the famous ‘flash crash’ of 6th May 2010 when the Dow plummeted 1000 points.

The Syrian Electronic Army, which describes itself as “a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths”, a group devoted to President Bashar-al-Assad, the anti anti-incumbency group. Was this hack an upshot of just a youthful escapade? Or was it part of a much bigger conspiracy by the Assad lenient groups to bring in cash to repay for the Kalashnikovs and Molotov Cocktails? Was Assad rejoicing in the Russian submarine? Should the SEC be more careful with the social media guidelines that it outlined a month back, should it add that…. that…. that je ne sais quoi.

Meanwhile the rain has stopped. The thunder is at a distant. Rumbling, waiting to strike again.


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What is Vine and why is everyone talking about it?


It wasn’t that long ago when video capture and editing was the purview of a select group. The camera equipment was expensive and bulky; it was in the league of designing a spacecraft! It also needed a lot of training and special editing software. Back in our parents’ day, they had to carry 20lb VHS recorders just to shoot a few minutes of film!

And we have it so easy! A video recorder that fits in our pocket and snippets of video in a super-digestible format. It is truly an evolution of social media apps. Voila!


In January 2013, Twitter released Vine video, its free video-sharing application that enables brands, businesses and consumers to shoot and upload six-second snippets to blogs, presentations, e-mails and social media sites. Vine is Twitter’s six-second video. The idea is to create quick, easy and interesting short films to share with friends and network on Facebook and Twitter. It is an app, currently only for iOS, that records six seconds of video and posts it on an endless loop to your Twitter account.


We have put together a bunch of reasons why Vine should be a part of your marketing mix?

We have already noticed how more marketers are using images and videos in their marketing mix; visual content is a marketer’s survival guide today. Capture quick video snippets and post them to YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

It’s testimony to the fact that media soothsayers have been crowing for years about how video is the future.

It is also a great App to drive Social Media ROI. One can drive more traffic by using tags, social buttons and share buttons.


1) It is a perfect app for brand-new user generated content

In my previous blog, we discussed how companies would make the most of User Generated Content. And Vine is the best way to create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way. Sometimes, clients have problems gathering up-to-date seasonal content for their websites, however user generated content is a great source of recent information and Vine is a perfect platform to leverage that.

Vinepeek is a website that enables one to drive more traffic to all social media platforms. It aggregates videos in real time showcasing an endless stream of six-second snippets of everyday lives.



2) It is a brand new and exciting way to reach out

Vine has managed to garner mass followings despite of it being a micro-video site. It is a great way to reach out to followers, and customers by broadcasting a 6 second video. One can also shoot a short loop; post a video with a minimum of 3 seconds. A brand or a company can share the best moments with the new hero of video sharing app. Its brevity is the (potential) source of its creativity. Small Tip– Pick a shot that’s mostly still but has just one or two elements that move.


3) It is the combination of the best!

Vine is a video sharing app, a combination of photo and video sharing with sounds. You can think of Vine as Instagram meets YouTube with a dash of Twitter!

Social networks, Facebook and Twitter are aware of this and have already started to get their hands on it.  We saw a couple months ago how Facebook is betting on improving the way content is consumed on its platform. Two of the latest improvements are the Social Graph and the Newsfeed update. The latest development in the social video area is Twitter’s Vine Social Video App.


4) Vine is great for Social SEO

Vine is a true representation of the times as far as how and where communication between brands and the individual is going. Social video apps are how people want to engage and communicate with each other. Twitter’s inclusion of video content will prove to be a pivotal asset in the process of strengthening brands’ relationships with their consumers, as they develop their social SEO and search marketing strategies.


5) Vine is simple to use

Vine is simple to use, the app’s stripped-down interface attempts to remove every point of friction. It offers users the opportunities to actively edit their creation. It is content that is easily made and easily consumed.

Vine videos are already starting to clog my Twitter feed and here’s a link one such interesting video. Let us know how you would use this cool video-sharing app both personally and professionally.

You can connect with us on Twitter @futurontweets or you can follow us on Facebook. 
Disclaimer: All links/image posted are on third party websites. Copyrights as applicable.



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