What Makes Wanderfly Wonderful?

From one social media site we weren’t too hot on to one we instantly fell in love with. Here at Limelight we have recently discovered Wanderfly and if like me, you love to travel it will be an instant hit. A cross between Pinterest and Trip Advisor, it is quickly becoming the best place to search and share personalised travel recommendations. Featuring amazing snap shots of destinations to cater to all tastes, it’s a visual delight for any travel enthusiast.

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Launched in 2010, Wanderfly has gone from strength to strength. Most impressively it’s flipping tradition travel searching on its head with over 5 million trip recommendations covering thousands of cities and destinations as well as partnerships with a number a brands including  Mint.com, History channel, Havaianas and Jeep.

Wanderfly aims to streamline the “Where should I go?” process of searching and booking holidays and trips. Unlike traditional holiday search sites Wanderfly offer users visual recommendations on places they would like to go based on their interests, be it culture, food, or adventure and then matches destinations to users budget and length of trip.

It works like a social media mash up between Pinterest and Facebook.  Users create boards for cities or destinations they have been to or are interested in visiting. They can then make recommendations for restaurants, hotels and attractions.  

In addition to user-specific city boards, there are also category city boards that collect recommendations for a given city from all users. Their content is based on factors such as what you like (via tags), who you’re following and what’s most popular.

Finally to keep you up to date on activities, new content from your followers can be seen down a feed on the right hand side.

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The only down side is that it is still US orientated with trips and destinations recommended from a US perspective not a UK or European. Hopefully the site will soon have a UK platform?

The internet has revolutionised global travel, with destinations, as well as reviews and recommendations only a click away. While over the past few years we have seen an explosion of user generated travel sites from WAYN to Trip Advisor to Expedia to Trippy to this really is the age of DIY travel.

To check out our best recommendations and see some of our best travel stories follow us on Wanderfly here, Limelight, as well as some of the Limelight Travel lovies, you can follow both myself and Ethna.

You’ll also find us on Twitter, and on Pinterest

Keith Millar

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The Un-menshn-ables!

Louise Mensch – Tory MP, chick lit author and wife of Peter Mensch, the manager of Metallica, Jimmy Page and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – has joined forces with former Labour technology expert Luke Bozier to set up a new social networking site to rival Twitter. 

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The site called Menshn.com was launched last week in the US to capitalise on the presidential election and is designed to curate the conversation around set topics. Upon its US launch, Menshn offered three discussions, one for the Obama campaign, one for the Romney campaign, and a third generic one covering the US Election in general, but has now been expanded to cover a wider range of topics. At present the site looks rather bland compared to its rival Twitter, with some interesting topics of conversation on what is essentially three glorified chat rooms, including which presidential candidate has watched the most pornography!

By having only set discussion topics Mensch and Bozier hope this will limit the mundane and random updates people post on Twitter (that’s what happens when you have over 60,000 followers) and generate actual debate and conversation. Essentially menshn.com is a more topic-based Twitter comprised of chat rooms, designed to enable people to have conversations rather then simply broadcasting their thoughts. The other difference is users are gives 180 characters to play with rather than just 140 and instantly gain 100 followers upon joining. Similarly to Twitter the site revolves around following people but it does not include retweets or, ironically, mentions.

It has since been launched in the UK sooner than expected, responding to UK interest and to capitalise on England’s EURO2012 match against Italy over the weekend. The UK launch was originally planned just before the Olympics.

So far the reaction on Twitter, blogging sites and even menshn.com itself has been negative, describing it as a vanity project, criticising lax security and questioning what exactly it can offer that Twitter already doesn’t, considering Twitter can be tailored through sites and applications such as Tweetdeck to follow certain conversations or topics. Other commentators have responded favouring how subjects on Twitter can morph, allowing people to engage in what-ever-you-want chitchat.

Not to be outdone Mensch and Bozier aren’t the only politicos in the process of setting up their own social networking site. The Kremlin has also announced it is creating its own Facebook-style social networking site, following failed attempts to limit online Opposition activism after the recent street demonstrations. The popularity of the internet in Russia, which has recently overtaken Germany as the European country with the most internet users, means any Chinese-style attempt to assert control from above would be doomed. Whether a government-created social networking site will succeed remains to be seen, but while other platforms free of government censorship and control remain free to use this looks unlikely.

I remain sceptical when it comes to new social media sites and having looked at Menshn it still has a fair few creases which need ironing out. In an already saturated market, any new social media launch needs to offer something different, alternative and most importantly easy and worth using. The most recent successful example is Pinterest, now one of the fastest-growing social media sites, but one based purely on image sharing. Users of established sites such as Facebook and Twitter are reluctant to leave, or switch to new sites. Google has been trying to break into the market since 2003 and has only had limited success to date so any new sites are likely to struggle to gain traction, but I wish these new sites the best of luck and look forward to following their progress. 

 

Keith Millar

Step aside Google+, Twitter & Facebook there’s new social media in town…

2012 has already seen the news packed with social media stories. From bald Barbie Facebook campaigns, Ed Milliband’s Blackbusters blunder, McDStories hashtag horror,  Katie Price’s Snickers Stunt to LA Fitness’s Twitter storm.

With social media continuing to be a clear influence on our behaviour and on brands’ marketing strategies  it is no wonder that more sites are popping up with new ways of engaging and interacting with audiences.

Two which we think have great potential this year are Instagram and Pinterest.

So what do these social media tools have that the giants don’t? Is there really room for them in this seemingly saturated market?

Instagram

Instagram has gained popularity over the last year and was named iPhone App of the year. It is now considered the largest mobile social network  with over 15 million users and is recognised as a great choice for brands. This new platform allows consumers to tell their story instantly via shared photos.

Recent brand initiatives using this technology include Levi’s “Be A Levi’s Model” campaign, where individuals were encouraged to strike a pose and upload a photo in the hope of becoming a future model. Another example is Tiffany’s latest campaigntrue love in pictures’, which uses an Instagram gallery to allow followers to share their photos. Other brands such as Burberry, Mango, Starbucks & ASOS have used it as a way of creating content that their followers regularly engage with and talk about.


Pinterest

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard site which allows individuals to pin images to digital boards, link back to other sites, share posts with followers, like and re-pin content. One of the best features of Pinterest is its ease of use – you can share and browse content simply and quickly. Its uptake has been fairly rapid over the last few months and brands are beginning to tap into its potential. It’s also proved to drive more traffic to retailer’s sites than Google+.
As HubSpot point out, “the trick to succeeding on Pinterest isn’t necessarily about showing off your products or services directly. It’s about finding creative ways to show how those products and services fit into the lifestyles of your target audience”.

One brand that has used Pinterest particularly well is Greek yogurt company Chobani. With boards ranging from “Nothing but good” to “Flavour inspiration” it is clearly connecting with followers from a lifestyle perspective and enabling  users to understand its brand, rather than just focusing on the products it sells. Other brands using Pinterest well include Gap, Whole Foods, Etsy and Better Homes and Gardens.

Pinterest is currently only available by invitation, so if you want to join you can either request an invitation or get in contact with us at Limelight – check out our Pinterest boards here: http://pinterest.com/limelightideas/

These two social media initiatives aren’t as big as the giants (yet!), but I’m sure over the next few months more and more brands will use them. They offer a refreshing new platform to share content visually, and I’m already hooked!

 

Danielle Barrett