Essentials of social media engagement [research infographic]

Engaging their community on social media is what all community and brand managers are striving for. Social media may be the best place to interact with audiences, but without clear understanding of the psychology of how people engage , brand efforts may fall flat and fail to reap the expected social media ROI.

In my latest paper, I discover top characteristics of social media engagement every manager should keep on top of their mind.


The paper goes on to explains in more detail driving factors of social media engagement and its benefits for brands. It is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Management – watch their space or get in touch for more details.

PS: To find out more about creating an infographic from research papers, click here and here. This time, I created mine with Canva

Snapchat: 10 seconds to convert teenagers into consumers

I was asked by Harvard Business Review France to contribute with an article on the latest trends in digital marketing. So, I wrote for them my thoughts on Snapchat and why it should be used by brands. Here is the English translation of the original article

The phenomenon

Launched in 2011, Snapchat has the highest penetration rate among teenagers and young adults, according to Statista’s latest figures. It has already clearly asserted its strength in certain regions like North America, and is now in full expansion in Europe.

Snapchat has now become the holy grail of media companies and advertisers are flocking this new platform. The reason for this craze is simple: Snapchat is one of the only media that truly allows capturing and maintaining the attention of the younger generation, thanks to two of its core characteristics: transience and authenticity.

Snapchat in figures

Snapchat’s target market is the 13 to 34 year-old segment, with a core target of 13 to 24 year-olds. In the United-States, 60% of this segment that owns a smartphone is a Snapchat user. With an expected revenue of $300 million for 2016, valuation at $20 billion and 150 million active daily users worldwide, Snapchat has nothing to be ashamed of, even in the face of the other big social networks which have existed for much longer. It even had the luxury to turn down the 3 billion acquisition offer of Facebook in 2014. More than just a fun network for teens, Snapchat offers real opportunities for marketers to engage with a highly captive audience and convert young users into consumers.

Marketing applications

Snapchat offers various opportunities to brands. First, brands can pay to have their ads displayed in the Discover Channels. On these channels, media companies such as CNN, National Geographic or Vogue publish informational and entertaining content, in a digital magazine type of format. On these feeds, brands can display their ads, like they would on TV. Video format is the most popular, with more than 10 billion daily views.

Live Stories are published by users, often in relation with a particular event, and can be linked or sponsored by a brand. Coachella festival in California, for instance, saw its popularity peak with this technique, as they virtuality gave access to the festival to over 40 million young users worldwide. Practically, a Snapchat user attending the Coachella festival could make a video of his experience and submit it for review to Snapchat, which would then broadcast it on the Coachella Live Story, making it visible to all. Brands can also sponsor geographic filters, which are stickers with creative designs that can be pasted onto content posted by users. These filters use geofence and are thus only accessible in a designated geographic area.


Snapchat naturally monetises all these marketing actions, as none of them is free for brands. A brand can also naturally have its own Snapchat account and post content for free through this account. However, in this way, the content is only visible to users who are actively following the brand.

Two keys to success

Attention. Content disappears after 24 hours on the platform, and it can only be seen for a maximum of 10 seconds. For a manager, it can seem absurd to invest in content that is not made to last, however this transient aspect is precisely what makes the platform so attractive : content is instantaneous and rare. The reason for the success of transient content can be explained by the “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO), which is typical of generation Z. For them, happiness can never be reached because they cannot experience everything : modern day teenagers are thus constantly dissatisfied. This fear of missing out is so strong and deep for that generation that they try and consume as much content as possible to live as many experiences they can and stay « in ».

Thus, this functionality of a disarming simplicity is in fact the reason for Snapchat’s success : by making content ephemeral, they increase its rarity. Because of this, users are 100% attentive to what they watch, since they only have 10 seconds of their precious time to sacrifice to see it.

Intimacy. Since content is transient and because it disappear, shared content can be much more personal. In the same way in which it is consumed, content is produced rapidly, without fuss and with the emotions of the moment.

For these two reasons, brand have the ability to interact with an extremely engaged and receptive audience. By launching campaigns on Snapchat, brands can increase their visibility, reputation and relevance for young adults and propose innovative forms of content. WWF, for instance, launched a campaign called #Lastselfie, where they surfed on the selfie trend and aimed to raise awareness of endangered species. The campaign was one of the first international campaigns on Snapchat and it raised unexpected levels of attention and awareness, with over 5000 tweets seen by 6 million users in the first 8 hours following its launch. Their visibility objective was thus achieved and they won a Webby Award for the campaign.


Tips for businesses

  1. Creativity

The first crucial element of communication on Snapchat is creativity. The tool has developed a wide array of functionalities to increase creativity : emojis can be placed over pictures and videos to express emotions, as well as coloured text or filters. Young people look for entertaining content: using a light and humorous tone is thus key. In order to know and get to grips with what makes young people laugh nowadays, the easiest way is to recrute one of them internally. Many businesses now have Gen Z consultants in order to improve their Snapchat strategy. Companies such as GoSpooky in the Netherlands are flourishing: they were created by teenagers in order to provide strategic insight to business and manage their Snapchat campaigns.

  1. Relevance

On Snapchat, there is no complex algorithm that pushes specific content on people’s feeds: from the moment that someone is following your account, they have 24 hours to view what you have posted. Thus, contrary to platforms like Facebook where you have to publish regularly in order to be well positioned in people’s feed, Snapchat does not have that problem. As soon as there is content posted on your account, your followers can see it and decide to visualise it or not. This way, it is only relevant to post something if you really have something to share – otherwise, it would just be noise. For instance, if a music festival is happening during the summer, its Snapchat can burst with content during the event, but have much more spaced out posts during the rest of the year. Activity can then resume when pre-sales are opening, for instance, and this would not be a problem.

  1. Verticality

Posting on Snapchat means entering a logic of verticality, a little bit similar to magazine content, given that smartphone are most often held vertically. This means that creative content creation needs to be adapted to this new format. If Snapchat users have to turn their phone in landscape to be able to enjoy the content, it creates frictions and disengagement.

  1. Exclusivity

Snapchat, is a platform where content is not embellished. Like its target audience, Snapchat is raw, authentic. Therefore, a way to engage Snapchat audiences is to make them perceive the real and authentic aspect of a brand; to invite them to see behind the scenes. This makes exclusive content particularly appreciated on Snapchat: the most popular celebrities on Snapchat are those that let their fans enter their every day lives, posting selfies without make-up, with their real friends or families, such as Kylie Jenner or Macklemore. This genuine aspect sets Snapchat aside. In this line of thinking, brands can decide to launch a Takeover, whereby they give control of their account to a chosen influencer. Using consumers insight and (quite literally) their lens is a fantastic way to signal that your brand is authentic and bare.

These methods can help brand willing to engage the 13-24 year-olds on a relevant medium with high engagement potential. By telling a fun, authentic and relevant story, opportunities to differentiate on markets that are not yet « Snapchat mature », like France, should be grasped.

This article was initially published in French on the website of  Harvard Business Review France on this page. You can reach HBR France on LinkedIn.

Instagram, from social media to money media

A post by Amaïa DARRIGADE, MSc student in Digital Marketing @KEDGE Business School. 

Created at the end of 2010, Instagram has become one of the most popular social networks by users, and it is my favorite. It allows us to share our moods, purchases, outfits, dishes, photographs, short trips… just about everything!

This is a unique photo sharing network on which a true community exists: we can create and interact with it. Instagram offers a real experience for its users: the user can escape the space of a moment in one click, surf from one image to another, from one continent to another, observe the photographs taken by one of a friend in New York, or follow the posts of their favorite blogger… So give yourself a moment of decompression in an active day…

For a long time, Instagram was free of any commercial activity, and only users ruled the roost…But everything changed with the arrival of the giant Facebook !

With over 400 million active users worldwide (including 5.5 million in France) and 80 million photos shared daily, Instagram was finally acquired by Facebook in 2012.

After this acquisition, users were able to see some changes including the emergence of advertising in the form of sponsored images since March 9, 2015. Paid publications of brands appear in users’ news feed even though they did not subscribe to the brands’ feed.

As if that wasn’t enough…Since March 15, 2016, like Google, Instagram has implemented an algorithm. The publications, which, in the past, showed in chronological order, will over time be presented to users based on an algorithm and supposedly, the tastes of users. In other words, Instagram decides to show the publications based on users’ interests rather than on posting time.

There remains a void as to the definition of this algorithm, as Instagram hasn’t revealed anything about it yet.

Many users have already contested this new decision, petitions have also been launched… Some fear that the feed Instagram became the advertising relay major brands and lose the spontaneity that this social network had managed to create.

It seems that the experience offered to the community on Instagram will be upset over the coming months…

Should we believe that Instagram, and behind it, Facebook, will tell us some « good news » in March each year?

To be continued…

Reaction after the announcement on Instagram:

Some reactions on

A rumor circulated on Instagram as what the algorithm would be implemented from Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Users (famous or not) or brands have called their subscribers to « turn on notifications » to be alerted as soon as a publication will be published.




Instagram has tried to calm things down by reassuring users via a tweet on March 28, 2016.


Here you can see Instagram CEO explains how this change can be good…


“Gary told you so”, or the secret key to Snapchat’s marketing success

In 2013, Gary Vaynerchuk predicted that Snapchat would soon be the biggest social media marketing tool and urged advertisers and brands to use it. As today is #Snapchatday (yes, that’s a thing), it’s the perfect time to support the prediction.

The problem about Snapchat is that it’s really, I mean REALLY, confusing and hard to figure out if you are not a Millennial or tween, i.e. born with a smartphone in your hands (and that IS on purpose). So when dear G. made this statement, although people believed his flair, everyone was quite skeptical.

Now we are in 2016 and Snapchat has an estimated ad revenue of $300 million for the year and is valued at $16 billion, this are looking differently. I could not help but share this “I told you so” video from Gary Vee and give my two cents on it below.

The thing that I absolutely love and strikes me most is this idea of ATTENTION.

Forget about metrics and likes, comments and impressions. What matters and what Snapchat allows you to gain, is the attention of users.

In a world flodded with information, getting these few seconds of attention from users is the key to influencing their behaviour. On Snapchat, if you do not view content when it is available anf for the seconds it is set to be viewable, it’s gone. It does not mean that people cannot select what they watch and swipe away, but they still pay more attention because content is volatile. I truly believe in the importance of conscious attention in consumer engagement and in its power (more on this in a next post about my research). Far from being perfect, I think Snapchat is indeed activating this very important feature of digital consumer behaviour. Time to get your Snapchat on!

Educating the non-digital natives

Social media tend to emphasise the generational gap between us, generation Y or Z, and those born and raised without the ubiquitous presence of the Internet (the NON digital natives, also know as “our parents”).

Have you ever noticed your parents struggling with technology, online practices and vocabulary? Yes… yes, you have. Ever had to set up an online account for them? Help them reset their password, install a printer, show them how to scroll, view messages, pay online..? Probably a hundred times.

Out of all these funny, and honestly quite adorable parent fails, I find their social media behaviour most amazing. Parents are experimenting with social media out of curiosity; to stay in touch with their kids or reconnect with old pals from school. The funny part is that they don’t seem aware of the fast-evolving “code of conduct” that we have learned to master after about a decade of social media usage (yes, we can call ourselves experts here).


Remember these times when you kindly ignored, or better, deleted, embarrassing comments they made on your Facebook profile – visible to all your friends? (“You are so beautiful and intelligent and I love you so much and miss you, why don’t you come and visit more often?” – something like that). It’s a bit the equivalent of them kissing you ten times when dropping you off at school when you were ten. Social humiliation.

Or when they profusely use “lol’s” and weird smileys, or even sometimes leave spelling mistakes or shortened words in their posts, thinking it’s cool. You probably don’t use “lol” since 2012 and stopped shortening words when the text message length got unlimited.

They might also randomly poke you (why does that even still exist?) or get mad if you don’t instantly answer a Facebook message. If they are connected, you should too: is that not like an SMS?!

So, I think that, as a good starting point (vocabulary is always the basic of learning), we should send this link to all parents, possibly grand-parents and elders in our network: the Top Social Media Terms and Acronyms Defined. Don’t bother reading it, just send it.

Remember when your parents sermoned you for doing socially-awkward things in the real-life world, like trowing a tantrum in the supermarket? Start giving back, send the link, and hope for the best!

PS: Dear parents, we still love you 🙂

In 2015, I’m Yelping away!

Happy 2015, everyone!

As the first post for this year, I would like to tell you a bit about one of my new hobbies of 2014: Yelp.

Yelp is an online community which publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses. A bit like a social network for customer reviews, with a dedicated site for most big cities worldwide.

I started using Yelp as a way to find things in Glasgow. Being en expat is not always easy: locating shops for very specific things you need once in a blue moon, or just findings a good place for something basic like dry cleaning can turn into a nightmare! I found Yelp so helpful, both in terms of finding places, but also assessing their quality through other people’s reviews, that I started posting reviews myself.

Always give back to the community 

I am now quite active on the platform, and here is what I really like about it:

Quality, not quantity: there is no pressure to review loads – what you write matters more than how much you write. I was really surprised to be awarded the Elite badge (a form of internal recognition for being a good Yelper) after just a few reviews, but this is the spirit: you don’t need to write much, as long as it is good quality. As you can see on my homepage below, there is kind prompting to review but you can just ignore them or do it whenever you fancy.

Yelp Homepage

Real sense of community: when you start yelping for a city, you get connected with other Yelpers from your town and start building connections. Being part of the Elite Squad also gives you access to special events where you meet tons of great folks. Yelp is actually the only social network that I use where online friends became real life ones, rather than the other way around.

Marketing research: I can’t help but seeing this from a marketing researcher point of view (I’m doomed!) and I learn a lot about consumer behaviour and social media marketing through Yelp. I guess I am just in default “netnography” mode all the time. Maybe one day I can write a paper about it…

Honesty: I like the fact that reviewers always try to be as objective and fair as possible. Although bad reviews inevitably happen, Yelp is not the place to go bashing about and complaining. People are committed to supporting local businesses. Everything you do on Yelp is for free, but the benefits you reap are well worth it (from shops discounts, to access to special events or insight into trending things in your city).

Amazing app: it’s all about being mobile, especially when it comes to reviewing and rating places you go to. I use Yelp on my phone most: I check into places, post pictures and tips on the go, and I can see instantly what others think of my updates – however, I usually write reviews on a computer.

I hope this post got you curious about Yelp and also hope it will be as helpful for you as it it for me if you ever need it.

Wishing everyone in Glasgow and around the world a fantastic 2015!


If you want to know more about Yelp and amazing Yelpers, follow the links…or find them in your own city.

  • Glasgow: site, Twitter and Instagram @yelpglasgow
  • Dublin (which I recently visited): site, Twitter and Instagram @yelpdublin
  • Brussels (for my Belgian readers): site, Twitter and Instagram @yelpbrussels
  • HQ: Site (Blog), Twitter and Instagram @yelp


I don’t blog much about music, but my latest discovery cannot be left unshared, so I am happily deviating from my usual topics – also because it relates to what I love: online communities and great brands.

I am a big fan of the Italian singer and songwriter Jovanotti. From hearing my uncle sing his early hits in the 1990’s, to re-discovering him in the mid-2000’s, this artist has stuck with me. He always comes with very varied influences (rap, hip-hop, disco, funk, world music), meaningful texts and is where you least expect him, always innovating, always reinventing himself. He’s the kind of artist that brings you to a happy place.

A few weeks ago, he launched JovaTV, which can be described as an online platform for video sharing, centred around him and his work, but going much further than that. Let me explain. On the one hand, the platform features official and unofficial music clips, stories, shots of life, etc. posted by Jovanotti himself. You can even watch one of his live shows in full. Pretty awesome, but not yet transcending.


The really amazing part of the site is the section of the called “YouJova”, where fans can submit their own videos, somehow related to Jova’s music (covers, flashmobs, kids singing, dances, etc.)

I think this is a great way to give voice to fans, to build a community and share this feeling of sheer happiness and optimism that transpires through Jova’s work. Some fan videos are very professional, properly directed and cut, others are highly unplanned and casual, making for a really rich web of interrelated, meaningful stories.

This is how Jovanotti envisions the platform:

I would like to post experiments, travel stories and above all music. I will use it to tell stories, to let you see things that traditional TV does not have time and will to broadcast, to have an archive of my whole story, to give an outlet to new directors and filmmakers

This is still a beta project, which is due to evolve. From the look of it, it is off to a great start.

Stay tuned, browse through, and discover what I think is the start of a fantastic specialised social platform and  strong brand.

Continue reading “JovaTV”

Hipsters taking pictures of hipsters taking pictures of food.

What seemed like a weird trend a few months back has now evolved in a global phenomenon, and it is taking huge proportions as time goes by, both in the private, public and business spheres. Here is a bit of a reflexion on the whole “food chat” and “picture taking” that is erupting these days.

Oh, yes, I know, only hipsters take pictures of food, not you. And it is either disgustingly healthy and oddly colourful/perfect, or blindingly sweating with fat. Or just an awkward shot with a bad light. Or it is the odd, expensive, super fancy, four star meal you’ve been treated to for your birthday. Or this cake you made that really turned out to be amazing FOR ONCE. Think about it. You too have at some point posted a picture of food. SHAME.

instagram food

What’s with all the food pictures then? What’s with all the healthy living and self-indulging chat? What’s with all these obscure people becoming famous because they talk about what our grandmas have done for decades, only on a fancy blog? What’s with all these celebrities suddenly turning into health gurus, because they too – surprise!, know how to cook.

It only takes a fews clicks and taps to discover that social media are absolutely infested with pictures of food, recipes and health advice. Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to feast on these.

I enjoy my food boards on Pinterest, following Deliciously Ella’s blog, and Glasgow-based fresheather ‘s Instragram flux and youtube channel. I adore Jamie Oliver’s newly revamped website, and I am very curious about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new GOOP platform, which seems to be falling into the lifestyle app/e-commerce category. I’ve also recently discovered the joys of “Yelping” and leave reviews for my favourite food stores and restaurants in Glasgow. Yelp, admittedly, is not only about food…but still a lot. I have fun enlightening 5 Instagram followers with my latest breakfast experiment, most likely out of narcissism, let’s admit it. It makes me feel good to see the amount of likes on my spirulina smoothie: what has happened to me?

It’s interesting to think of what could lie behind this “food bubble”, though. Is it bound to last or burst? Is it just one aspect of people posting everything and anything about there lives? Does is sit in a wider trend toward health-consciousness to reduce obesity and malnutrition?

Loads of food for thought, anyway. Pun intended.

I’m going to leave you to think about it with this last note: if you ever want to be the perfect combination of a geek and foodie, go for the emoji diet  – it does not get better!



Social media misbehavior

It’s undeniable that social media are giving users enormous power to express themselves. In the blink of a click, you can Tweet or post about your latest flight experience, say how much you loved the service at that little Italian restaurant yesterday, or how amazing the new Starbucks frappucino flavor is. Fantastic.


Alternately, you can vent your disappointments, frustrations and bad experiences just as easily, and why should you refrain from it? In the end, constructive complaints might very well be helpful and push companies to improve, right? Well this is what most savvy and well-behaved people are going to do, or at least say they do.

Then you have those abusing the power that social media gives them. Rambling about whatever they might get frustrated about. Using social media as outlets for their personal issues and targeting their anger at whatever strikes their fancy.  As a company, you better not be in the way when that happens!

Recent research on the topic of brand hate has led me to spend a substantive amount of time on Facebook pages, groups, forums and sites dedicated to hating brands, celebrities, people, companies or products. You would not believe the amount of inappropriate language, obscene pictures, abusive and sexual talk, or just plain nonsense chat that is posted on these platforms.

I am 100% for the empowerment of customers, don’t get me wrong. But in return for the freedom of expression that is given to us, it is essential for us to learn how to make  good use of it. It is our duty to be civilized, to think about the consequences of our actions and please (please!) remain polite. Consume responsibly, talk about it responsibly. Simple enough.

In a recent blog post, the Harvard Business Review explain how companies have a huge stake in making social media platforms more sociable and more civil. They explain : “There’s no question that consumers have more power than ever before to call attention to bad products, services, and experiences. But it’s equally true that companies also have greater power to call attention to bad customer behaviors”. They also go on giving examples about companies that are now rating their customers according to their consumption behavior, and how this is used as a segmentation tool, to make badly-behaved customers pay more or go away. I think this makes sense.

And you, what do you think about customer misbehavior in general, and on social media?

The price you pay #noway!

I recently came across a twitter trend called #Youaretheproduct. As I am curious of everything that has to do with products and marketing, I clicked it and ended up on quite a few interesting articles. What these articles were stating was quite simple: You are the product. You? Do I mean: you? Yes, you, reading this just now, you are a product.

You might think that this is nonsense, and you would be right…as long as you are not registered on any social network, using any search engine or other Google product, if you have disabled all the cookies on your Internet browser and have unsubscribed from all networks’ ad servers through a very strenuous process. Basically, if you are my great- grandma!

As I still come across people that do not believe or understand what I mean by this, let me explain why, you are indeed a product, with a very simple example: Facebook.

When you registered on Facebook, you saw on you screen: “Facebook is free and always will be”. You probably though it was very cool and quite normal, in the end. Why would you have to pay to be on such a simple and quite meaningless website? Well you DO pay. Your private information is the currency. Every single information that you provide when filling in your profile info, uploading photos, tagging people or places, or just by surfing the web, is gathered and used to serve ads to your computer screen. Ads that are supposed to be highly relevant and targeted to your wants and needs. Really? Well, think about it. How would a company valued at over $100 billion, with over 900 million users and 3500 employees have a business model that does not generate money? The way Facebook makes money is by selling all the information they have about you to those willing to pay for that information: advertisers. Believe me, I worked in this fascinating industry for a little while.

Would you pay to be on Facebook or use Google Search? How do you feel knowing that all the information you put online, even on professional sites like LinkedIn or simply entering a search in Google, is stored, mined, used and sold? Is that the normal price to pay in today’s information society?

The Internet is scary because it has pushed the boundaries further and is more sophisticated than most other marketing programs, but just being part of any store’s loyalty programs make you a product, they have not reinvented the wheel.

Is there a way to escape the market logic? As consumers, are we increasingly gaining or losing power? That’s the question!


If you want to know more, check the related links on Forbes, SocialMedia Today and The Atlantic.