TINT aims to bring user-generated content and brand recognition in one easy to manage feed which can be displayed anywhere, at any time, on any platform. And now they’re tackling Europe.
TINT, a global technologies platform that collects, moderates, and curates social content from across various different social mediums, which can be displayed just about anywhere, has officially launched in Europe. Originally based in San-Francisco, the company has around 45,000 clients globally and will run regional operations from London, led by the recently appointed European Director, Stuart Thompson. We recently spoke with Thompson about the TINT platform and the movie into Europe, and he explained a little more about what the company hopes to achieve.
Though TINT is a global platform, with users located in over 170 countries, the move to Europe was “more about having a strategic presence here,” explains Thompson noting that, “A lot of my work as the European Director is around strategic partnerships, it’s about working with organisations where we can innovate them and do stuff that their competitors haven’t done before. For us, it’s a kind of innovation piece that’s quite personal for us.”
So with the platform already having a global presence, and a client base of 45,000 as well as moving operations physically to Europe as well as San Francisco, we spent some time discussing what the platform is actually about because, for us, we had a hard time grasping at what TINT actually offered. Though press releases and their own website explained it in brief, we wanted to dive into the nitty-gritty and get to the bottom of what TINT’s main purpose is.
“We are a technology, so we’re like Twitter, we’re not an agency we don’t produce any content, we are a technology that allows organisations to collect any social content from any channel, and be able to curate that into the bits that’s interesting for them and then publish that into any digital asset,” explained Thompson. “We’re a self-serve platform, you can log in, you can create a TINT and then you can publish it all on your own without the need to either speak to developers or speak to us.”
Now, that might not seem like anything special on its own. I mean, what’s to stop a web developer from throwing on a Twitter widget onto their web page? Or installing a plugin onto their WordPress site which pulls content from social networks? There’s actually a hell of a lot more to TINT than just the content it displays. Though at its core it’s a tool to bring together user-generated content about your brand all in one place, it’s about how brands utilise TINT and make it unique to them.
“From a proposition point of view the most important community for any brand or organisation, whether you’ve started your business yesterday, or whether you’re Google, is to collect the rich content from the social media, as you know it’s the largest communications channel by a long shot, it breaks records regularly, and pushing that social community into your digital assets is extremely important,” he explained. “You’ve got a corporate website, you’ve got your social icons, and clicking your social icons takes you away from your website on Twitter. The main problem with social media is where it is. So Twitter is on Twitter, Instagram is on Instagram, and Facebook is on Facebook, for example. And what TINT does is collect all those channels and publish them together.
“It can look like anything, it can go anywhere, and do that very very easily on the fly. As well as that, for an organisation you can build a WordPress site, you can grab a Twitter plugin and you can push that in and that’s it. But with TINT you can make that look like anything you like.
“Take Krispy Kreme for example, they take their user-generated content, they use TINT to turn it into little doughnuts on their page. Equally, the way that Google uses TINT is completely different to the way that someone like Coca-Cola would use TINT and that’s different from how the NASDAQ would use it. So we are very consultative in the way that we do things so we want to understand what your needs and requirements are.”
TINT allows the company or brand to not only curate the content they want their users to see and be a part of, for them, it can look totally unique. Furthermore, it can be used anywhere with no additional effort TINT feeds, or TINTs as the company calls them, can be displayed on mobile, and the very same TINT can be shown on a huge screen at an event. It’s this ability for the TINT to respond to it’s this, among other things, that makes TINT more unique than just a static Twitter or Facebook feed.
“Just by using TINT you’re going to increase and amplify engagement around your event or around what you’re trying to do. You can publish a TINT on your homepage engaging users about the event before the event has even happened. Then you’ll have the same TINT on-screen at the event. And because TINT is so responsive, lo and behold it’s also on their mobile app,” he said. “So that would be a perfect way to engage people before, during, and after an event.
“But what you’ll see with TINT is that it’ll amplify your engagement. One, because we’re across those three different assets, Two, because people can see different types of posts from different types of channels, and at the same time people digest information as a feed because people see posts and can share quicker and more often. So when it comes to impressions during the event we see this peak.
“So if you use TINT before the event, during, and after, you’re also getting this long-tail engagement as well.”
With TINT having the ability to be so widely used you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that there must be a certain use-case which performs the best because at the end of the day you want to make the best return on your investment. But according to Thompson, utilising all of those mediums is the best possible way to get the best return whether it’s advert clicks, more user engagement, and sales. Fortunately for the brand or business owner, all of this can be done at no extra cost and little additional effort.
“The most effective way to display the TINT platform is to think from that omnichannel point of view because people are looking at different devices. It needs to be on mobile if you’re at a physical event have it displayed on any screens that you can, but also on your website, and it’s really that multi-channel way you’re using TINT, is the most effective way,” he said. “And because there’s no additional cost or effort, that’s kind of one of our main propositions. So it would be about sweeping up any kind of engagement across any digital assets that you have.”
“It’s about us asking what you’ve got, whether it’s just a website, a store full of screens, or something else. We work with what you’ve got available to you,” he added.
As for the content within TINT and what’s displayed by the platform, I came to Thompson with the idea that it relied on your own social media accounts and the user engagement from direct tweets or replies, but actually, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a social network account. Though TINT says that it’s a good idea to have one, simply put, your users and customers are already on the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and they’ll stay there whether you’re on it or not.
What TINT helps your brand or business to do is to make use of that user-generated content to turn what they’re saying into a marketing tool.
“We still speak with organisations who are like ‘Okay, we can see value of user-generated content, the problem we’ve got is that we don’t have any social accounts,’ or ‘our CEO is really nervous about Twitter and Instagram and everyone’s really worried.’” What we say to that is that is ‘that’s fine and though it’s really important and we advise you to be on there, the main thing is that all your customers that you’re going to engage in are all already on there.’ and that is the point.
“So you’re either engaging in the community or you’re not, you’re either capitalizing on that, or you’re not. Because your competitors are,” he said. “So it doesn’t matter if an organisation is kind of nervous about social media, or not even got any profiles because people are talking about that organisation even if they don’t even have a profile.”
One fear that may also be discouraging companies from using TINT is how they can stop social media that isn’t overly positive, deliberately inappropriate or even stop competitors from hijacking their campaigns while using the platform. Fortunately, TINT has some pretty heavy moderation tools allowing the company, the marketing team, or a third-party curate the content that goes live on their TINT before, during, and after it has been displayed, allowing for fast, real-time moderation of nuisance interactions without disturbing the TINT itself.
“A classic example would be, one of our big clients is the NASDAQ, they use TINT to display their IPO’s on the big screen in Time Square, and at the same time it’s also on their website, campaign site, and within their offices, and on their mobile. In one sense I could stand on Time Square and hashtag a really inappropriate image, that’s displayed on the NASDAQ screen, so what we have is a very robust moderation within the platform, and when you curate a feed, it’s either a social profile like @n3rdabl3 or #n3rdabl3, but you also get to choose whether that is public or private, so I would suggest that out of the 45,000 brand we work with, probably the majority of them they would create a TINT and make it private.
“What they then get to do is to use whitelists and blacklists or auto moderation to add in blacklists of their competitors, whitelists of people they’re interested in and at the same time we have a mobile app on Android and iOS that allows people or agencies or third parties to go in and moderate it on the fly as well by simply swiping to allow posts, and swiping to not.
“From a consumer point of view they just see a brand really opening up to the community and letting their community speak for them, but in reality, the brand still chooses what’s being displayed.”
Not only is the brand or company showing that they listen to their customers by sharing what they have to say, they’re also offering a level of transparency for new and existing customers making the brand feel more human and less corporate. It’s this level of user engagement that TINT pride themselves on and utilising this as not only to advertise positive response from customers, though that’s a key goal, TINT can also be used by the brand to sell products or as an ad marketing tool.
“People trust people more than they trust brands. It’s just a fact. No matter who you’re talking to no matter what organisation you are, whether you’re a bakery that has just opened up in the village, or you’re HTC wanting to sell your latest handset. That’s the most important community that any organisation has, so taking that community and doing stuff with it is the number one way to reach people. TINT allows that to happen really, really super easy.
“You can do all sorts of things with TINT, you could create a hashtag around a campaign, such as #AppleWatch, you can collect any content from any social channel with TINT, and look at all those really interesting bits. From here you can then pull in #Wearables too, and your editorial team can say ‘right, these are the bits that are interesting for us, this is what we’ll have on the feed’ and mixed into that feed you can then have adverts relevant to the feed.
“So you can put TINT in an ad, and an Ad in a TINT. You can also take one feed and publish it throughout all of your different mediums, from different pages on your website, a microsite, in your office, and even on a giant Jumbotron.”
In addition to showing customer interaction, user-generated content, and involving consumers more with your brand or event, there are some key advertising methods which can be added to the feed, so if everyone is raving about your product, show the world that, and give them a call to action to click and buy the product. That’s how TINT hope to be different from just any old social widget or sharing page.
“Just collecting social content is okay, it’s not exactly brand new, but doing stuff with it, is. So a lot of what we do is around social commerce. So what people will do is take user-generated content and they will overlay a call to action. It might be to come and sign up for our brochure or newsletter, or it might be “buy our product,” so you can take user-generated content around a project, overlay a call to action that’ll take you to a page where you can buy it,” he added.
TINT has also been used as a sort of analytic tool for brands to keep an eye on competitors or to see how a product is performing from actual candid user reviews on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. “It’s not a core offering by all means, but I would absolutely say that it can be used, and a lot of our global brands that we work with will create a TINT for their competitors just to monitor what’s happening,” said Thompson. “We also have users that use TINT in the kind of war room situation and have screens around their competitors, and around their subjects and they’ll monitor that, they’ll have other TINTs that are published, running in the background for analytics.”
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