Facebook, Video and Marketing.

Posted by Saahil on Monday Apr 22, 2013

I was taken by surprise when Twitter went ahead to procure Vine videos. To me it didn’t made sense then, but then this Vine did intoxicate me.

This resulted in me doing a little research on understanding the Business Intelligence (BI) behind video marketing on a social media, which is predominantly used for posts and stills.

Lets stack the two giants against each other.

Facebook Vs. YouTube

If you’re only going by video alone, I could probably mention 50 reasons why YouTube is a more robust and valuable platform for video than Facebook. However, as an overall marketing platform, Facebook is arguably more valuable than YouTube for many businesses. So while I would not treat Facebook video as an equivalent business value to YouTube – I completely agree that it should be a place for businesses to upload videos.

Some of the facts that work towards the favour of Facebook-

  1. Audience- Facebook is the 2nd largest trafficked website, with over 600 million active users
  2. Referrals- Facebook is the 2nd largest referral source for video
  3. Mobile- 175+ million active users take Facebook with them wherever they go
  4. Time- According to a Nielsen study, an average Facebook user spends about 7 hours on Facebook per month
  5. Versatility- Facebook supports multiple video formats
  6. Length- Facebook allows up to 20 minutes, 5 minutes more than YouTube
  7. Connectivity- a wide range of sharing features and engagement opportunities. While Facebook doesn’t let you share it’s content onto other social networks (like YouTube and Twitter), because of its large member base, you will certainly have many more connections from the onset that may lead to better sharing potential.
  8. Search Engine Visibility- Facebook videos are visible within Google Search
  9. Social Media Optimization (SMO)- Excellent keyword encoding or tagging capabilities
  10. Conversions- Hot triggers around the video for taking an intended action

These facts in isolation would appear ordinary and mediocre but when seen together they appear impressive and formidable.

An insightful tip on video marketing on Facebook-

If you have a Facebook page you can set up what’s called a landing page on Facebook. What I’ve seen a lot of businesses do is record a welcome video, where it’s usually a talking head of the company welcoming them to the actual fan page, and sometimes pointing up and saying, “if you like our page please click the like button.” So the Facebook landing page is actually encouraging the viewer to act through the spoken talking heads in the video telling them what to do.


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V. Sundaram Sampath, the chief election officer is losing sleep over the use of social media by political parties. Karnataka is going to elections on 5th May 2013, as this ‘D-day’ approaches, fierce battles are being fought on social media, especially Twitter. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the newly formed Karnataka Janata Paksha have all taken to Twitter and have divided the Indian Twitterati into various camps. Each camp tries to spew venom on the other and confetti on themselves.

Taking a cue from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s successful social media campaign in Gujarat, the BJP wing of Karnataka is tweeting away. With a little over 6000 followers so far, the party is surely hoping that the actual number would be at least a 3-digit multiple of that.

Even the regional political parties, like the Janata Dal (S) have joined the bandwagon primarily in the attempt to breakaway from their rural image.

While words like ‘troll’, ‘fiend’ and ‘fanboi’ make a visit on social media, Election Commission is brainstorming on how to implement the 48-hour deadline in the virtual media.

The Election Commission has put in place a ban on any kind campaign 48 hours prior to the elections. But with a flood of Twitter and Facebook messages already on cyberspace, how effectively would the election watchdogs look beyond the façade of the Twitter handle and Facebook bio? Will they be able to discern the ‘associative silhouette’ by reading the tweets and posts? Will the election watchdog be able to curb the social media campaign wars?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime I would urge and appeal to all the ‘trolls’, ‘fiend’ and ‘fanbois’ to come out and vote bereft of your ‘official’ loyalties. Please come out of this ‘prison-of-a-box’ and vote.


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Best Practices for Instagram!

Posted by Archita on Wednesday Apr 10, 2013


A picture speaks a thousand words. Then why not use the power of pictures to market your brand? Research shows that human brain has a higher recall value for Graphic/Pictorial things.  I’m talking about the hottest and most lucrative social media platform that people and brands have been flocking – Instagram! It has transformed not just the way people took pictures but also the way people use social media to communicate. Check out this funny video to know what we are talking about.

Although still a young social network, it was launched in 2010, compared to deep-rooted platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the mobile social network may provide a good opportunity for marketers interested in visual content marketing.

Being lighter and easier to use, Instagram,  does away with all the extra add-ons like the obligatory status updates, sponsored stories etc. and allows you to see only the thing your customers are interested in- The Pictures. Whether the pictures are of your products, or if they are the behind the scene shots of their favorite celebrities, it definitely gives a far more interesting option of seeing everything as opposed to reading about it. They seem to work on the simple principle- A picture is worth a thousand words- and given Instagram’s amazing options to ‘filter’ and ‘customise’ images, every picture becomes ten folds richer and lovelier.

Taco Bell made this wreath entirely out of Taco Bell sauce packets and put it on their Instagram to wish people ‘Merry Christmas’
This is exactly why we are seeing a rising number of companies rushing to Instagram. After having milked the Facebook and Twitter to its last drop, they had to find a new way to market and increase their brand appeal and Instagram has come into picture at the right time!

Currently many brands seem to be trying to be more involved and proficient on Instagram, but a few brands like Burberry, American Express, Red Bull and Adidas have already hit the peak with more than 100,000 Instagram followers.

Burberry successfully leveraged ‘behind-the-scenes’ shot from the filming of Romeo Beckham’s commercial to increase curiosity among their fans that pushed the engagement to another level.

American Express is known to post artsier pictures of fashion shows and concerts sponsored by them which obviously make up for an amazing visual treat –both for men and women.

If you notice the above examples, Instagram is not only common with retail and FMCG businesses like Burberry and Red Bull- who rely on images of its product to market themselves, but finance businesses like American Express have also managed to leverage this platform and run sustained marketing campaigns on Instagram.

If you are planning to start using Instagram for your brands then read further. The do’s and don’ts tips given below will help you give your marketing strategy an extra mileage to run your business effectively.


  1. Be regular with your updates; share at least 1 photo on Instagram per week. Although the top Instagram brands have varying strategies and objectives on the platform, they share some common metrics and sharing habits and sharing one picture a week is one of them!
  2. Establish your motif and stick with it, whether it is a collection of shots from your daily life or your city. Followers will come to expect a certain quality to your photos, and while it can be fun to stray occasionally, too much deviation might bug them. MTV, for example, is less interested in using filters on Instagram and is known to post candid shots of musicians and celebrities on the sets of MTV programs
  3. Match your Twitter, Facebook usernames with your Instagram username. Those who follow you on Instagram will likely want to follow you on Twitter and Facebook as well.
  4. Make sure your take interesting and creative pictures. Understand that anybody with an android or an iPhone can take a picture and make it look beautiful on Instagram; Hence remember to take creative pictures that will also help to build your brand reputation.
  5. Write captions or tag locations that explain the photo. Let your photo speak your story and let your followers know the thought behind it.
  6. Use hash tags tastefully, like on Twitter, using hash tags can increase the visibility of your post.


  1. Do not treat your brand like an online catalogue on Instagram. Instagram gives brands a chance to be creative and connect with younger fans at a relatively low cost. So, make use of this opportunity and click pictures of something that will resonate with your target audience and build your brand image as well.
  2. Do not flood the feed by posting pictures every hour and do not post bad quality pictures. You will lose followers in no time.
  3. Do not post DSLR pictures. Instagram is meant to celebrate the beauty of mobile and spontaneous photography. You do not want followers to protest and blacklist your brand.
  4. Instagram does not work on ‘you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours’ principle. So, do not like every photo just to increase likes on your photos.

futurON would love to hear your thoughts about marketing on Instagram. Please leave a comment below.


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Facebook Home: A bid to increase ad revenue?

Posted by Saahil on Friday Apr 5, 2013

The much awaited launch of a Facebook phone has met with mixed responses from both industry veterans and avid facebookers.  Facebook did not unveil a phone, but a bespoke Android overlay called ‘Facebook Home’. It also revealed that the Taiwanese electronic giant, HTC Corporation, will debut a phone called ‘HTC First’ which would run the overlay as standard. This debut is touted to happen a week from now.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive, explained that the firm is looking to put ‘people, not apps’ at the centre of the phone in a bid to revolutionize the smartphone experience and to further grow its mobile experience.

“We’re not building a phone and we’re not building an operating system. What we’re building is something that goes much deeper than just an ordinary app.” he said.

‘Facebook home’ app shows off capabilities such as a slideshow of recent images on your front screen or putting updated from friends at the top of the screen. “The home screen is the soul of your phone. You check it a hundred times a day, so we want to build the best experience for every person on their Android phone.” he said.

Another key tool built into the platform is the ability to receive messages – called Chat Heads – without having to exit the app you’re currently using while still being able to reply to the messages you’re getting, as either texts or Facebook messages.

‘Facebook home’ is intended to work across platforms, so iOS and Windows Phone messages will appear in the similar manner.

This app will be made available to the public on 12th April in the US only. Some of the devices to run on the platform will be HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Zuckerberg was joined by Peter Chou, CEO HTC, to show off ‘HTC-First’ the first smartphone to run on this overlay. The device will be available from 12th April in the US on AT&T for $99.99.

Facebook confirmed that they are working with EE, Samsung and a host of other vendors on delivering the overlay when it is made available.

Industry analyst have underlined that this move, by Facebook, is to boost the firm’s desire to get its users more active on the site in order to help boost the appeal to advertisers.

It appears that analysts have given an overwhelming verdict in the negative. Perhaps this diffidence stems from the level of excitement and expectation they had developed prior to the event. To me 12th April is the ‘D’ Day.

Please let us know what you feel about this new ‘game-changer’ strategy?


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Video marketing strategy on social media

Posted by Saahil on Tuesday Apr 2, 2013

The fast evolving world of social media is one of the best tools you can use to market your videos. With the advent of sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest; sharing of information is not only easy and convenient but also fun. If you are creating something of value, well – people will share it. In spite of this fact it is not enough to just create the content, send it into the universe, and hope somebody picks up on it.

If you want your content to reach the desired eyeballs in the shortest span of time possible, you need to understand your audience and their requirements. Your strategies should be based on the recced demography.


It is vital to understand and outline the target audience and more importantly the brand influencers. By using programs like FollowerWonk, Klout etc. you will be able to outline the brand influencers (followers with a higher social clout). These programs also provide information on social media users following brands similar to yours. Chances are, the common audiences of big brands in your industry will be interested in your company too.

Tweet to the clout

After identifying authority users and influencers in your industry that tend to retweet useful information. You must look at tagging them with the tweet containing your video link or in-twitter Vine. If you create truly interesting content, it’s likely to be retweeted by these power users – therefore getting your content in front of an audience previously inaccessible to you.

Listening to the clout

This can be your secret weapon.  It is paramount to have your ears open to the influencers. If you actually pay attention, you may hit upon something they’re specifically looking for – which is a potential gold mine for you. If you can create a video that solves a problem or answers a question the influencers are specifically looking for, it’s very likely that they will share it, again giving you access to their own, bigger audiences.

Build thy network

‘Networking’ or ‘making friends’ within the industry domain is important. This importance gets magnified if he or she has a wide social media network. These nodes would happily share your videos – so long you create something worth sharing, of course.

Geo-map your network

Share videos only during the time your networks would most likely be online.  There is no point in sharing the videos at odd hours, for they will vanish in the depths of the Internet.

Water the trend

Creating content that is trending or is in fad would help garner more followers. So if people are sharing your content there is no reason not to create more of it. Your followers are obviously finding value in your content. It is the best way to boost your brand reputation and followers.


If you only go on sharing videos on various social rostrums, your impact would be limited to the usefulness of your videos. However, if you respond to comments and questions people leave on your social media accounts, and you share content besides your own videos, you’ll be able to build a much more loyal following – which can only be good for business.

Magi has no formula, Quality does

You should always look at creating quality video. If you think you’ve hit on a magic video formula that people will automatically share, and so decide to start churning out more and more of it, don’t be surprised if the quality of your work suffers – and your followers stop following you. Creating good quality, useful videos should always be the top of your agenda.

These are some of the techniques that we, at futurON, have used successfully  for our  clients. What are your thoughts? Please feel free to share your video marketing techniques.



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Should a social media priest poke at the pizza or Was the new Dominos strategy, a crocodile Dundee in the making!

Social Media can be one of the most powerful news weapon in a company’s arsenal and is easily one of the fastest growing benefits of technology today. For companies that consistently provide reliable products and services to consumers, the use of social media to promote brand loyalty and recognition is a positive influence in online marketing. As social media use advances, so does the frequency in which brands are reaching out to their audiences to engage them through these channels. And of course, there are a bunch of other reasons why companies and brands should actively pursue social media.

Social Media must be handled with care or it can backfire just like that. Especially for companies with less than stellar reputations concerning customer service, social media becomes a backfiring weapon of mass destruction.

The fallout can be devastating, as evident  by the campaign of Dominos called the ‘game changer’ which completely backfired on social media. It promised to make a ‘game changing’ announcement, ‘the biggest in 20 years’.


”Get ready for our biggest announcement in 20 years #gamechanger,” a banner on Domino’s Facebook page stated.

When the announcement ended up being a new range of pizza with different toppings Domino’s Australian customers lashed out at the pizza chain on Facebook and Twitter.

“Making square pizzas with nicer toppings certainly isn’t worth the hype. I can’t believe that Domino’s think this advertising is going to win them any new customers!!! Dumb Dumb Dumb!!!,” one user posted on the pizza chain’s Facebook page.

While on Twitter, one user wrote, “Thanks Domino’s. You just blue balls’d an entire country.”

To top it all, Dominos had hidden negative feedback from fans and customers.

There was a groundswell of criticism and negative feedback from ardent fans who were waiting eagerly for the big announcement.

Here are a few things Dominos could have done differently:

1.Listen first and never stop listening. -Social networks provide the opportunity for consumers to say whatever they want about the brand in question — but by the same token, they also provide companies with the chance to discover precisely what is being said about them. So it is imperative for brands to listen actively to what fans, customers, consumers and competitors are saying. If Domino’s could have sensed the anticipatory posts and discussions across various platforms, they would have understood that launching a square pizza with unique toppings is not a game changer. The customer’s wants more.

Tip: At the bare minimum, companies should have Google news alerts set up to help monitor their reputation, but it’s also a good idea to be vigilant in checking the buzz on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Be smart when handling a crisis- With negative online reviews and up-to-the-minute online news coverage both posing potential threats to business, immediate-response capacity of social networking is utterly paramount which Dominos, as evident from this incident, missed out on. It was important for Dominos to take blame and respond to the messages.

Tip: It can be extremely difficult for smaller teams to respond to messages individually. In those situations, it is important to alert all the fans and followers — not direct messages but regular status updates — letting them know what’s happening, and that they will receive more information as it becomes available.

It is important to keep customers in the loop as they are the true voice of the brand and they are social media savvy, which can help spread positive press about the brand.

3.Transparency- Consumers today demand greater transparency than ever before. When brands scrub criticism from their Facebook walls, customers are pretty quick to sniff it out, and they’re not afraid to point it out when you whitewash them. Was Dominos afraid of criticism and deleted all the negative updates, which proved to be catastrophic?. Fans reposted on social networks with renewed venom and vigour plus they told friends who started posting similar experiences.

Tip: On the other hand, brands that embrace all feedback earn points for their receptiveness to criticism.

4. Customer Service Opportunity- Whether it’s a single negative review or a heap of criticism, negative feedback is a golden opportunity to show that one is listening, responsive, and one cares. Considering Dominos did not do any of this, people resorted to ‘Public Shaming’ via social media.

Customers think that by  jumping straight to shameful public exposure one applies pressure to quickly resolve the problem.

Tip: It is imperative to train customer service teams to be hypersensitive to online negativity, possibly alienating and discouraging online positivity.

In conclusion, social networking can be an invaluable asset for any company and has proven to be an important and integral part of modern day business operations. But, one should also keep in mind that it takes some strategizing and approach to ensure that social networks are helping more than they are hindering.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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Do’s and Dont’s of social media

Posted by Archita on Wednesday Mar 20, 2013

As we increasingly get bulldozed on the information highway, the need to follow certain guidelines, certain parameters are required to understand both the direction and path.

This infographic contains all the essentials that one needs to survive whilst the chaos.

A ready reckoner for every social media enthusiasts.


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I was following the Italian general elections with interest, this time around. This interest was partly due to the vested interest (of my blogs) in the European economy and the fact that this election was being mulled by many as the return-election of Silvio Berlusconi and his centrist-right political group.

As the entire world waited for the results, trends began to emerge. The trends were clear and relieved many; Silvio was not touted as a winner in any of them. The results were in lines with the trends and opinion polls; the Common Good-Left coalition won the election making Pier Luigi Bersani as the next in line to the coveted office of the Prime Minister of Italy.

Did Bersani emerge as the gladiator? Many might answer in affirmation but a closer look at the election result  would paint a different picture.

On the night of 25th February, Rome witnessed the rise of a new gladiator. A new type of  gladiator. A gladiator so powerful and just that it compelled Rome to speak. Beppe Grillo and his five star movement party emerged as the second largest party, and third after factoring in the various coalitions. His votes have thrown the Italian election into a tizzy. He has emerged as the king-maker.

His success was not predicted by the Roman Clergy nor guided by the Pretorian prefects but by the vast support from the masses especially towards his anti-corruption movement. His prominence and his appeal reached the masses through, perhaps the most important arm of social media, blog. His Blog reached both Romans and Roma.

His uniqueness is what has clicked with the masses. His awkwardness became his strength. His comic sense (for he is professionally a comedian) and funny tirades at other candidates (Berlusconi- a psycho-dwarf) were the highlights of his election campaigns. His refusal to entertain mainstream media had earned him ire and fire from all corners of the media. His idiosyncrasies reached a completely new level of the stratosphere when he decided not to stand for election himself. Ordinarily this would probably mean that his support is overestimated by the polls. Yet normal rules do not apply! Grillo has, by an enormous margin, the largest social media following in Italy – in fact, in Europe.

He has over one million Facebook friends and a similar number of Twitter followers (Bersani has about a quarter of that). He uses this huge social media profile to make things happen offline. Grillo has constantly encouraged his supporters to discuss the issues he raises on his blog as they relate to local questions in their cities and towns. For example, as of 8th November 2012, there were officially 532 Grillo meet-up groups, containing 87,895 members spanning over 400 cities. This sort of local organization used to take years to build. His supporters show that they are motivated and mobilized – which means ready to get out and vote, and encourage their friends to vote as well. This can make a huge difference if apathy is high for other parties. In 2011 the Internet-based Pirate Party were expected to receive five per cent of the vote for the Berlin House of Representatives: they managed nine.

For an examiner this election will be something of an acid test; would the litmus paper turn red or purple is anyone’s guess. The rise of this gladiator has shunned all the doubts of the orthodoxy; Social media support and campaigns do translate to actual votes. Some old seminarians might term this as a shenanigan and would attempt to link Grillo’s largesse to Silvio’s libido or Monti’s failed attempt to revive the economy. His enormous social media following has weighed in its favour and any politician with a looming election should take a serious note of it.

Let us know whether you bless the marriage of Social Media and elections.



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User Generated Content –These three words were being bandied across in marketing and social media circles last year. What is UGC and why are marketers making a huge deal about it? How does it empower the new-age marketer? Is user generated content the new currency—gold— in social media and marketing? The importance of user-generated content in the world of marketing, branding, and advertising is its capacity to influence purchase decisions, brand affinity and brand loyalty.

Here are the answers. User generated content was a big trend last year, a trend that is not a one-off affair. This trend is worth tracking because it represents a radically new definition of what constitutes value to the consumer. Co-creating with one’s consumers is an important one to watch not because content and experiences will be co-created by the consumer but because tapping into the ‘collective experiences, skills and ingenuity of hundreds of millions of consumers’ around the world is a complete departure from the inward looking marketing model which is so common to many brands and corporations around the world. For decades, these consumers have been saving up their insights and rants about the stuff they consume, simply because they didn’t have adequate means to interact with companies, or with other consumers for that matter. User Generated Content helps customers with direct influence on what companies develop and produce for them.

If content is king then, UGC is the content maker! UGC is content that is generated by people who visit your site. It is pretty straightforward. Forum entries, reviews, blog posts, comments and social mentions are among the types of content that can be generated by users. Be it entertainment, communications or e-commerce, consumers are increasingly in charge of the creation, distribution and consumption of digital content.

afaqs! Campus spoke to 40 experts to find out their One Big prediction in the Digital Marketing space in 2013. Also, Paurush Sonkar, Deputy Chief Manager
L&T General Insurance predicted that Marketing will be powered by UGC this year.

Big news organisations like BBC and CNN have been using User Generated Content to plug the gaps that their own journalists can’t cover – by submitting photos, videos and updates on breaking news. Contribution of user generated content (UGC) by the wider public or ‘citizen journalism is a common phenomenon.

Its benefits are that the audiences witnessing incidents can post eyewitness accounts on the Internet as soon as they happen or send reports and photos to the media. It provides inspiration to any brand wanting to turn its customers into ‘reporters’, sending in findings, observations, and suggestions. And as this model is spreading like wildfire, expect more consumers to ‘get’ and enjoy the concept. Sauvé marketers have caught up with the trend looking to leverage the web as an effective marketing and communications channel. The continual rise of social media, Google’s ever-changing algorithm, quality and fresh content play a central role in empowering the new marketer who relies on user generated content which can help companies rapidly scale and promote original content in a way that benefits both the company and the readers.


The advantages of UGC are massive; it paves path for a solid organic ranking, better SEO, it is highly cost-effective and very quick and easy to set-up, it also encourages and enables online visitors to enhance marketing, increase your site’s retention, bookings, enquiries, repeat visits and browsing time. This allows visitors to upload their own testimonials, reviews and experiences to your website that breeds loyalty and significantly enhances the interactivity of your site for online visitors.

2011 – 2012 was about companies understanding what UGC is all about. Companies shared that user-generated content is part of the new marketing paradigm, but more than half of companies have yet to fully recognize this very fundamental transition in marketing. However, many marketers predict that 2013 will be different and companies will officially seek UGC. Building marketing campaigns around user-generated content will be an important new ingredient in the marketing mix.

We have put together a bunch of reasons why companies will officially pursue UGC for 2013 and beyond:

Reason One

Explosion of Social Networks

With the number of people on social networks continuing to explode (according to eMarketer, there will be 114.5 million user-generated content creators online by 2013), the opportunity for brands to leverage content created by consumers in marketing efforts will continue to grow. The impact and power social media has when it comes to content sharing is massive; this is an understatement. UCG campaigns are huge drivers of social engagement. We have millions of tweets about our brands, thousands of Facebook ‘Likes’, hundreds of thousands of check-ins on Foursquare. Pinterest and Instagram are adding even more to social-media data deluge – very visually.

Here’s an interesting info graphic to demonstrate the same.

Reason Two

People look to others for a sense of reassurance and validation from people like themselves or Using Social Validation as a Marketing Tool

This sense of connection has been a driving force in the success of crowdsourcing and the harnessing of user generated content (UGC) in driving consideration and product sales. Campaigns created with crowd sourced content are novel. This has created a new channel allowing audiences to change their role from mere onlookers to participants. This multi-channel dialogue can empower fans to be a part of the experience. Companies and media organisations will look to use UCG in their marketing mix. Apparently 95% of the people need social validation before making a decision. Given that social validation is so rampant, it only seems natural to talk about it in terms of business marketing. Certainly reviews and client/customer testimonials serve this purpose. However, social media is playing a larger role in social validation each day.

Reason Three

Content sharing has evolved in the recent years

As newer smartphones showcase better camera technology, consumers are responding by creating and sharing better content with friends and network. Instagram, Viddy, YouTube, and Pinterest represent just a handful of companies who have skyrocketed to success based on sharing user-generated content. Many Indian companies like Mouthshut.com, Freshlimesoda.com, Sulekha.com, Shaadi.com and Naukari.com are great examples of sharing user-generated content.

Reason Four

UGC is an opportunity for true brand development

Brands use user-generated content to get authentic experiences andopinions from their audience, be it good or bad. A negative comment could really be an opportunity for brands to see where there’s a problem and also a chance to interact with someone that took the time to engage you online.

Reason Five

Companies and brands will figure out more practices for utilizing and leveraging user-generated

1.Brands will respond and engage more vehemently with people.

2.They will understand customers and their audience and will know what tools to provide and use.

3.Brands will be realistic with regard to what to expect from their users.

4. Brands will be realistic and will expect to have the good with the bad.

5. Brands and companies will recognize and reward active content users.

Reason Six

Bespoke Lifestyle of the new consumer

Today’s consumer doesn’t settle for anything that is run-of-the-mill.

He/she seeks something different; something is custom-made, tailored to his/her needs, something that is concierge or made-to-order. This guarantees goods, services and experiences that are tailored to their needs.


Amazon does it the right way!

Amazon has partnered with Facebook to bring a new layer and add an offshoot into product recommendations.

Now Amazon users will be able to link their Facebook account to their Amazon account. At the outset, this will allow Amazon to show you recommendations based on your Facebook interests and activity.

Let us know how your brand uses UGC in its marketing mix? Is your company looking forward to this new marketing paradigm?

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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Orwellian SocietyDuring the height of the economic meltdown I wanted to learn about some of the economists who had predicted this mayhem, apart from the usual names of the Austrian-economic school of thought, like Nouriel Roubini, Peter Schiff, Gerald Celente etc. I came across Web-bot Project created by Clif High and George Ure. It was a software originally designed to predict the stock market trends in the late 90’s. Their website claims that the scope of their functionality was extended to cover world events. This unique ability to predict world events a-la Nostradamus was into much controversy after a claimed 60% hits and 40% misses and off late there has been more misses than hits.

I was inclined towards this ‘savant’-like software because of their secret algorithm based on numerical values assigned to emotionally quantified lexicons with a focus on duration, impact, immediacy and intensity; after completely sidelining the reason for the switch from making literally billions of dollars every day by predicting the market (I mean it doesn’t make sense to move from such a lucrative business) to a fakir trying to make ends meet and living hand to mouth.

After almost four years I spent in awe of their ruse. I learnt of RIOT (Rapid Information Overlay Technology). RIOT is developed by Raytheon, world’s fifth largest defense contractor and is aimed towards tracking people’s movement on social media and predicting future behavior by mining data from social networking website.

Raytheon, the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged that the technology was shared by the US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing “trillions of entities” from cyberspace.

Have authorities become so red handed that they are willing to ‘overtly’ convert the western world into Stasi, Germany?

It has harnessed and prompted civil liberties and online privacy concerns. The world witnessed the power of social media during the Arab Spring but most just stopped short from thinking about the ramification of it getting transformed into ‘Google for spies’ and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.

Raytheon’s “principal investigator” Brian Urch explains in a video that the photographs users post on social networks sometimes contain latitude and longitude details – automatically embedded by smartphones and tablets within “exif header data.”

RIOT pulls out the information along with the location where the photograph was taken.

“We’re going to track one of our own employees,” Urch says in the video, before bringing up pictures of “Nick,” a Raytheon staff member used as an example target. With information gathered from social networks, Riot quickly reveals Nick frequently visits Washington Nationals Park, where on one occasion he snapped a photograph of himself posing with a blonde haired woman.

“We know where Nick’s going, we know what Nick looks like,” Urch explains, “now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future.”

Riot can display on a spider-diagram and the intricacies between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare, a mobile phone app used by more than 25 million people to alert friends of their whereabouts. The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

This shows that Nick, who posts his location regularly on Foursquare, visits a gym frequently at 6am early each week. Urch quips: “So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday.”

Data mining from public website for law enforcement purposes is legal in most countries. Federal Bureau of Investigation has requested help to develop a mining application to monitor bad actors and groups.

However, Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said that the Raytheon technology raises concerns about how copious amount of user data could be covertly collected without oversight or regulation.

“Social networking sites are often not transparent about what information is shared and how it is shared,” McCall said. “Users may be posting information that they believe will be viewed only by their friends, but instead, it is being viewed by government officials or pulled in by data collection services like the Riot search.”

Jared Adams, a spokesman for Raytheon’s intelligence and information systems department, said in an email: “Riot is a big data analytics system design we are working on with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation’s rapidly changing security needs.

“Its innovative privacy features are the most robust that we’re aware of, enabling the sharing and analysis of data without personally identifiable information [such as social security numbers, bank or other financial account information] being disclosed.”

Late last year RIOT was featured in a newly published patent, Raytheon is pursuing for a system designed to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they should be judged a security risk.

In April, Riot is scheduled to be showcased at a US government and industry national security conference for secretive, classified innovations, where it was listed under the category “big data – analytics, algorithms.

Can RIOT be a successful version of Web-bot because it has been created by organisation with deep pockets? If so, can it be used to accurately predict future events? Can Nostradamus revisit? Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can take sides on as to do we want security over freedom or freedom  over security.

In the end I would like to quote the great Roman Emperor.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present”

-Marcus Aurelius.

We cant wait to hear your views on whether you prefer freedom over security or security over freedom.


Tags : , , Innovation, Introduction, Social Media | 4 comments »