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WhatsApp Tests QR Codes to Help Users Connect



QR codes feel like something of an underutilized option, a tool which does have significant potential value, but no social platform has really been able to tap into it as yet – at least not in western countries.

But still, there are plenty of QR code tools available – and this week, WABetaInfo has reported that WhatsApp has begun testing of its own QR code option, which will make it easier for users to share their contact info via QR scans.

WhatsApp QR codes

As you can see here, the new QR code option will enable users to either present their code for others to scan, which will share your WhatsApp contact info (and, WABetaInfo notes, your phone number), while there’s also a ‘Scan Code’ option to read other users’ codes.

Which, like all QR code options, is interesting – but is it really valuable? Are we utilizing QR codes as much as we, potentially, could be?

In China, QR codes within social apps are huge. As recently noted by Greg Geng, a VP at Tencent, which owns WeChat:

“In China, payment methods using QR codes have replaced cash and cards in just five years.”

Indeed, WeChat, which serves more than a billion daily active users, now facilitates some $14 trillion in mobile payments each year, while AliPay, another mobile app, handles almost $20 trillion. The two apps account for 92% percent of all mobile payments in the region, with much of that activity coming via QR codes, which users scan in at stores, train stations, bars – basically everywhere, immediately linking their online identity to their offline purchases.

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So why haven’t QR code options taken off the same way in the west? 

It’s difficult to understand the various market dynamics at play, but it seems that western users are more skeptical, and more concerned about data tracking and the like, which has limited take-up.

Facebook has tried – back in 2016, for example, Facebook added QR code-based offers, which would enable businesses to use unique QR codes to incentivize in-store purchases.

Facebook QR code

That seems like a good way to link on and offline purchase behavior – but they never became a major consideration, and we haven’t seen people subsequently rushing to scan in Facebook codes at stores.

More recently, in 2018, Facebook added new QR codes for Pages, in order to make it easier for people to connect with your business presence on the platform. 

Facebook QR codes

Facebook’s also tested QR codes for rewards programs, linking customer loyalty schemes more easily, but again, none of these options has really taken hold, despite the success of QR scanning within the Chinese market.

But it seems like it should work – it still seems like QR codes could be more valuable, a more utilized option among Facebook users. They’re just not seen as overly valuable as yet.

You know where QR codes could be helpful? Signing up to in-store loyalty programs. 

Every time you go to buy something these days, the store assistant will ask if you’re a member of their loyalty scheme – which makes sense, as they want to sign you up so they can then retarget you with ads. And most of the time, if you’re like me, you say ‘no’ and ‘not interested’, not because you’re actually uninterested in their loyalty program, as such, but because who can be bothered going through the extra steps of giving over your details and/or waiting for them to look up your info on their system.

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Maybe QR codes could help solve this – maybe, if QR codes could be used to immediately link your online info to the store loyalty program, that would provide a level of utility with the option that could make it more valuable. You just scan in a code, or provide your code to scan, at the point of purchase, then move on. 

Maybe, then, we’re looking at QR codes the wrong way, and retailers themselves need to see more utility in the option in order to enact such.

Or maybe they just won’t catch on. Either way, soon, you’ll be able to scan QR codes in WhatsApp, which could make it easier for more people to connect, more easily, within the app.  

Other options on business use may be worth investigating, based on the current tools available.

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5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]



5 Trends that will Dominate Influencer Marketing in 2022 [Infographic]

Is influencer marketing part of your digital marketing strategy for 2022?

With the rise of more creative, more native-aligned platforms and spaces, brands are increasingly relying on influencers to connect with new audiences, while the growing use of AR and other new technologies also necessitates a familiarity with platforms that takes time and knowledge to maximize.

Influencers can be a great avenue in streamlining such process, but you have to know your audience, and what kinds of influencers they’re tuning into, in order to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts.

To provide some more context on this, the team from SocialPubli has put together this overview of five key influencer marketing trends of note for 2022. And while these notes won’t address all of the info you need, they could help you formulate a better outreach strategy, based on the latest trends and shifts within the creator space.

Check out the full infographic listing below.

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Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement



Twitter Publishes New Industry Trend Reports Based on Rising Areas of Tweet Engagement

Twitter has published a new range of industry reports, based on rising trends, in order to provide more context as to the key elements of focus among its userbase in each sector.

The new trend reports, which Twitter’s collectively calling its ‘Birdseye Report’, were compiled by Twitter data partners, including Hootsuite, Meltwater, Sprinklr and more. Each partner took on a specific element of expanded Twitter conversation, giving each discussion and industry dedicated focus, providing in-depth insight into the latest key shifts in the app.

You can download all the Birdseye Reports here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key highlights.

First off, the reports are based on a range of key tweet trends over the past year.

Those trends include:

  • Digital First – Digital Ethics, Cyber Individuality and Metaverse dominated the technology conversation on Twitter
  • The Crypto Craze – “Crypto” mentions on Twitter increased 549% in 2021
  • Future of Sports – Tweets around the metaverse + sports rose 6,024%
  • Bring the Sweets Back – Conversations around nostalgia for sweets, chocolate and candy grew 55% between January and October 2021
  • Mental Health Matters – Monthly “mental health” mentions from 2019 to 2021 on Twitter grew 44.7%

As you can see here, you can select the specific sector report you want to read, all of which are available via email sign-up – though you can select not to have Twitter or the providing company contact you as a result of your interest.

Each report covers the top trends in each sector, based on tweet discussion, which points to rising areas of opportunity and focus for your tweet marketing.

Twitter Birdseye Report

As you can see here, the reports include both broad trend results, like these, highlighting bigger shifts in each sector, as well as more specific tweet engagement shifts, relative to key focus elements.

Twitter Birdseye Report

Those insights could help to shape your marketing approach, while each report also includes a range of more in-depth pointers and data points to help guide your understanding of what the Twitter audiences is most interested in. 

Twitter Birdseye Report

There are also demographic insights: 

Twitter Birdseye Report

As well as summary points for each, helping to ensure marketers can make the most of each report:

Twitter Birdseye Report

There’s a heap of great insight here, and if you’re working in any of the highlighted sectors, and are looking to improve your Twitter approach, it’s definitely worth downloading the data and checking out the findings.

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Even if you’re not looking to improve your Twitter strategy, it’s likely worth getting access to the insights and seeing what people are most interested in for each segment.

You can download all the Twitter Birdseye reports here.

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92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok



92-year-old Malawian music legend finds fame on TikTok

Fame at 92: Malawian music legend Giddes Chalamanda has notched up millions of views on TikTok – Copyright AFP Bertha WANG

Jack McBrams

At 92, Giddes Chalamanda has no idea what TikTok is. He doesn’t even own a smartphone.

And yet the Malawian music legend has become a social media star, with his song “Linny Hoo” garnering over 80 million views on the video-sharing platform and spawning mashups and remixes from South Africa to the Philippines.

“They come and show me the videos on their phones, but I have no idea how it works,” Chalamanda told AFP at his home on the edge of a macadamia plantation, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Malawi’s main city Blantyre.

“But I love the fact that people are enjoying themselves and that my talent is getting the right attention,” he said, speaking in Chewa.

Despite his grey hair and slight stoop, the nonagenarian singer and guitarist, who has been a constant presence on the Malawian music scene for seven decades, displays a youthful exuberance as he sits chatting with a group of young fans.

He first recorded “Linny”, an ode to one of his daughters, in 2000.

But global acclaim only came two decades later when Patience Namadingo, a young gospel artist, teamed up with Chalamanda to record a reggae remix of “Linny” titled “Linny Hoo”.

The black-and-white video of the recording shows a smiling, gap-toothed Chalamanda, nattily dressed in a white shirt and V-neck sweater, jamming with Namadingo under a tree outside his home, with a group of neighbours looking on.

The video went viral after it was posted on YouTube, where it racked up more than 6.9 million views. Then late last year, it landed on TikTok and toured the globe.

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Chalamanda only learned of the song’s sensational social media popularity from his children and their friends.

Since then he and Namadingo have recorded remixes of several others of his best-known tracks.

His daughter Linny’s 16-year-old son Stepson Austin told AFP that he was proud of his grandfather’s longevity.

“It is good that he has lived long enough to see this day,” said the youngster, who himself aspires to become a hip-hop artist.

Born in Chiradzulu, a small town in southern Malawi, Chalamanda won fame in his homeland with lilting songs such as “Buffalo Soldier” in which he dreams of visiting America and “Napolo”.

Over the past decade, he has collaborated with several younger musicians and still performs across the country.

– ‘Dance around the world’ –

On TikTok, DJs and ordinary fans have created their own remixes as part of a #LinnyHooChallenge.

“When his music starts playing in a club or at a festival, everyone gets the urge to dance. That is how appealing it is,” musician and long-time collaborator Davis Njobvu told AFP.

“The fact that he has been there long enough to work with the young ones is special.”

South Africa-based music producer Joe Machingura attributed the global appeal of a song recorded in Chewa, one of Malawi’s most widely-spoken languages, to the sentiments underlying it.

“The old man sang with so much passion, it connects with whoever listens to it,” he said, adding: “It speaks to your soul.”

Chalamanda, a twice-married father of 14 children, only seven of whom, including Linny, are still alive, said he has no idea how to secure royalties for the TikTok plays.

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Chalamanda and his wife hope to benefit financially from his new-found stardom.

“I am just surprised that despite the popularity of the song, there is nothing for me,” he said. “While I am excited that I have made people dance all around the world, there should be some gain for me. I need the money.”

His manager Pemphero Mphande told AFP that he was looking into the issue and the Copyright Society of Malawi said it was ready to assist.

Arts curator Tammy Mbendera of the Festival Institute in Malawi credited platforms like TikTok with creating new opportunities for African talent.

“With songs from our past especially, they were written with such profoundness that they still can resonate today,” she said.

“All one has to do really, is get the chance to experience it, to acknowledge its significance. I think that’s what happened here.”

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