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3 Times Social Media Warmed Our Hearts

Stephen SuttonThe internet is full of heartwarming moments: that kitten having a nightmare whose mum pulls him in for a cuddle, the collection of photos of babies being best buds with dogs, or the little boy with two sisters who finds out he’s about to get a third sisters and promptly throws the biggest hissy fit ever. Priceless. However, these fairly superficial ‘cute’ moments fade away when we consider some of the truly heartwarming moments that social media has provided us with over the years; and no, I’m not referring to the one about the girl who blew her rent on an Uber taxi and then made a killing on Kickstarter. ‘Oh, but the generosity of people’ I hear you say: no, I mean the truly heartwarming - the stories that made you cry on the bus, laugh in mixed company, and warmed the very cockles of your heart.

1. The Internet responds to the London Riots.

The London riots, and the ensuing others around the country, rocked Britain to its core. Never before had we seen such an enormous amount of destruction on our streets, despite the best efforts of the Police to try and protect Londoners and their property. However, the people who, arguably, suffered the most were the small business owners whose businesses were attacked, destroyed, and stolen from. Many of these stories end in large amount of insurance paperwork and a reimbursement, but not for Aaron Bibel, 89-year-old hairdresser, whose shop was ransacked and torn apart by rioters. The poor guy didn’t have insurance and it looked as though his life’s work was reaching an end. Which is when social media stepped in. Campaigners managed to raise £35,000 for Aaron which was enough to repair his business and left him with enough to donate to a local children’s charity too. What a gent.

2. Caine’s Arcade

Caine Monroe is a fairly special kid. Like a lot others, he has to spend his summers at work with his Dad; unlike most others, Caine decided to put his love of arcades to good use and made his own out or cardboard. He didn’t get many customers, in spite of his best efforts, until one day one of his dad’s customers put a video online and made a Facebook group. Along with a flash mob day when Caine’s Arcade had A LOT of visitors. The group now runs a fund, which is put aside for Caine’s education in the future. He is one smart cookie that the world should be keeping an eye on!

3. Stephen Sutton

Very few people in the UK won’t have heard of Stephen Sutton and his heroic charity fundraising from last year. At the age of 15, Stephen was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and it prompted him to draw up a bucket list including (amongst other things) raising £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. As of this time last year, that figure stood at nearer £3 million, a lot of which was raised as a result of his Facebook presence. The nation quietly mourned the heroic teenager who stood up to cancer right up until his dying moments, posting a photo of himself with two thumbs up and a dignified message of goodbye which pushed that total over the top. What an amazing young man he was and what a wonderful world we live in when social media can help us to reach out to make a young man’s dying wish come true.

Photo Source: By Grigorij87 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Will Social Media Ever Replace The News?

Old Radio NewsIn the past ten years, the way we receive news has changed radically. Whilst most people still go to more traditional news outlets (radio, newspapers, the TV etc.) for their news, many of these and more are also using the internet and, more specifically, social media as a means for discovering up-to-date and impartial news.

Arguably, Twitter has been a cornerstone for this revolution with trending topics being one of the site’s mainstays since the early days of its inception. The use of the hash-tag was, originally, brought about as a way of tagging posts and categorising them to ensure content was searchable. This technology really began to come into its own once Twitter’s users began to post photos and eyewitness updates from news events, as they were happening. Perhaps the earliest prevalent example of this was the US Airways Flight 1549 which crashed into the Hudson River in 2009. Within moments of this happening, Twitter was awash with photos and eyewitness accounts of events as they unfolded. Social media was able to keep up with these events in a way which the traditional news media couldn’t: the updates were raw, simple, but current. Equally, the deaths of celebrities are often reported first through social media with many seeking out more official news outlets to confirm or deny these stories. A key example of this was the death of Michael Jackson, again in 2009. Twitter users sat by their computers as the news slowly trickled through with varying degrees of details as the world began to mourn one of its most beloved entertainers.

However, can this form of news media ever really replace the news? It is, perhaps, a matter of opinion. Younger readers of this blog might think that it will since the younger generations are often amongst the first to embrace such a change. Whilst many people still find the simple pleasure of reading an actual newspaper to be a fundamental part of their day. However, in a world where ‘supply and demand’ is the order of the day, why would you choose to read a newspaper which is reporting on events some time after they happen, when you can log on to Twitter or Facebook as watch them unfold online?

It is this question which hints at the fact that social media may well overtake more traditional news media. When the entire purpose of the news is to update the world on current affairs, how can newspapers and TV news crews hope to keep up in a world where everyone has a camera in their pockets along with the ability to post those photos and comments worldwide in a matter of moments? Perhaps social media won’t replace it entirely though; if the more traditional media can adapt and evolve with the demands of their audience then perhaps they will survive yet. The news, like everything in this world, needs to be immediate and current in a way that editing processes cannot keep up with. In the future, we may well find ourselves relying on social media for these timely updates.

Death of The Social Messaging Acronym

MSN Messenger

Now, we all remember the acronym BRB. It’s one of the more polite abbreviations in the world of social messaging; respectfully letting the person you’re chatting to know that you’ll be momentarily taking time out of communication to do something else.

Why we’re bringing this nostalgic nod to the past to your attention in this blog is because – it is with deep regret and sadness to inform you – that BRB tragically passed away some time in 2014.

The grammar police are still investigating when exactly this occurred, all we can tell you at this point is that it was sudden and nobody really noticed it happened.

At this point in the story you may very well be thinking, “oh, how sad that BRB was faced with extinction and nobody even batted an eyelid” – and you’ll be right in thinking that.

After all, there are well-protected enclosures for this kind of thing these days. Couldn’t it roam free with the likes of those white rhino’s that still won’t mate even after getting pumped full testosterone and those sad looking pandas who know the end is nigh?

Well, why nobody really noticed the death of this plucky little abbreviation was because nobody – and we mean nobody – left their smartphones for long enough in 2014 to actually use the expression; Be Right Back.

Gone are the days of popping to the shop and leaving your phone behind. Gone are the days of even going to the loo and leaving your phone on the sofa.

Last year was without doubt the year that mobile popularity went in to overdrive. We’re talking big mobile data, cloud storage, collaboration, crowdsourcing, sharing and marketing on an unprecedented level never seen before.

Mobile is no longer just a gadget; it’s a state of mind, man. An extension of us in which we feel desperate, paralysed and incomplete without.

Part of the reason for this smartphone addiction stems from thinking that we feel we may miss out on something incredibly important in the brief time we’re away from our prized possessions. Subsequently, BRB no longer has a place in our digital jargon because we no longer go anywhere without our phones attached to us.

Despite this, and despite the sad passing of one of our favourite three letter acronyms, the world is remaining stoic. However, some are longing for the return of BRB because they feel the world is a more unstable place without it.

Dawn, an office worker from Slough said, “I wish BRB was still with us and we could return to a time where it wasn’t so important to have my smartphone with me at every waking moment.”

Tim, who works in the same office, echoed Dawn commenting, “It’s sending me crazy man. Sometimes I could’ve sworn my phone vibrated in my pocket, then when I take it out, nobody has text me. I just wish I didn’t have my smartphone on me at all times. But then if somebody needs me in a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire type scenario, there’s no way I’m missing that call.”

It remains to be seen whether BRB will be resurrected. What is for sure is that with users compulsively checking their phones on average 150 times in a single day, social messaging doesn’t wait for anybody any more.

Photo Source: By David Villarreal Fernández (Fiat Bravo) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tinder Acquires Tappy For $10 Million

Tinder

You may well be familiar with Tinder, even if you don’t like to publicly admit it. It’s the social matchmaking mobile app that allows its users to set a specific radius and have the option to match with anybody within that distance. Tappy on the other hand, you may not have heard of…..until now that is.

The reason why we’re telling you about Tappy is because Tinder – if you haven’t worked it out already – have recently just purchased it. So let’s give you a bit of background, shall we? The app is created by a start-up called Chill and what they specialise in is photo messaging that disappears within 24 hours. You can also message each other on the Tappy app, but the beauty is each conversation has to begin with a photo.

From there, you can turn that particular photo into a chat thread, with a single individual or a group. The inbox looks more like a newsfeed, with large screen-wide photos acting as the cover art for your various chats. It’s a fast app, in terms of both messaging and taking pictures, and features some of the best bits from Snapchat and Instagram to throw their hat in to the ring of text messaging.

Sean Rad, the CEO of Tinder, says Tinder and Tappy are a great match because both companies have similar ambitions. He told TechCrunch,

“We’re very good at connecting people, but there’s this ‘what happens after that?’ moment that we want to improve. We not only want to get better at the way we use criteria to connect people, but we want to broaden the reasons for connecting in the first place. The Tappy team will help us tackle both fronts, the pre-match experience of creating that first connection and the post-match experience of communicating with that person.”

Tinder has grown rapidly since it was launched in 2011, to such an extent that it is now seeing 1.5 billion swipes every day and 21 million matched. Growth certainly isn’t slowing any time soon and February is always a big month for dating apps, so it’s only a matter of time before they hit the 2 billion matches in the coming months. Brian Norgard, Tappy co-founder said of the decision to sell:

“I’m a bit of a historian when it comes to the Internet, and I know that things that grow like Tinder has don’t come around very often. The chance to work with Sean was too strong of a draw because we knew that if we could couple Tappy DNA with Tinder DNA that we can do awesome stuff. Messaging has gotten very overheated, and this gives us the chance to lead from the front.”

The acquisition is thought to be around the $10 million mark and the app will shut down immediately, leaving the users on the platform having to find a new favourite chat app.

Photo Source: By Tinder, Inc. (https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficheiro:Tinder.png) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Social Media Features You’d Be Mad To Neglect

Twitter Features

Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” He wasn’t talking about the world of social media, but he could have been. What we can learn from dear old Ferris is that it’s easy to neglect important features of social media platforms, ones that can play a significant role when it comes to marketing your business. So let’s explore some of these features a bit further, shall we….

Twitter Favs

Since the little blue bird last updated, it’s now possible to see what you have favourited and what other accounts have too. Have you ever found a great piece of content, read it, enjoyed it, fav’d it, then a day or so later, you try to find the same article but you find neither hide nor hair of it? Well, Twitter solved this problem by adding an extra feature, making favs no longer a pointless acknowledgement, but a valuable tool and a mini timeline of the things you’ve appreciated.

Twitter Advanced Search

You get all kinds on Twitter, don’t you? So if you want to cut through the noise and target relevant people of real value, using Twitter’s advanced search option is the way forward. A constant stream of updates makes it difficult to find the accounts and conversations you’re looking for, so narrow your search to a particular location or to mention specific key words. This is one of the best ways track what’s happening in your industry.

Facebook Interests 

Most people still aren’t even aware of this Facebook feature. These lists are an incredibly effective method of organising the people and pages you have on Facebook so that it compartmentalises what you want to see. It’s a great process of separating the friends that you’ve grown up with, for example, from the news accounts where you get your information from, which goes a long way to improving user experience.

Google + communities

If you’re not on Google + yet, what on earth are you waiting for? Users have the ability on this platform to create and post in communities around issues and topics that affect them. For example, if you want to post an inspirational quote on a Monday morning, there are a range of relevant groups where this type of post would be appreciated and engaged with. What’s more, posting in popular communities rapidly increases your number of page views too.

Google Analytics

This feature makes it so easy to see what’s connecting and what’s not in terms of your online strategy. Knowing your audience, their behaviour and what they want is paramount to your success and the best way of measuring this is through traffic stats. It shows who visits, when they do, where they land, where they come from and so much more.

Want to learn more about the social media features you’re ignoring? Get in touch today.

Photo Source:Photo: Harland Quarrington/MOD [OGL], via Wikimedia Commons

The Apprentice Winning Business Idea…. Or is it?

Alan Sugar

Were you watching the last series of The Apprentice? Of course you were, it’s television gold. While the double act that is Karen and Nick alongside the acerbic wit of Lord Sugar himself is reason to get hooked on the acclaimed business competition, here at Giraffe we were particularly enthralled to see contestants taking part whose business ideas involved digital marketing – to some degree. The victor – who won a £250,000 investment to go in to business with Lord Sugar – was an Australian fellow called Mark Wright. He is a digital marketer with ambitions of helping small/medium sized businesses get their websites higher up search rankings. Aha we thought!

So while the majority of the country was sat there thinking, ‘okay, so what the hell does that mean,’ we’re here to cast a light on to a modern industry that is still unknown to many.

Why is search ranking important?

In an ever-increasing online world, position is everything as it’s estimated 93% of all buying decisions now start with an online search. For example, if you want to find a plumber in your area, you’d type ‘plumber’ in to Google and automatically you’ll be provided with the information of a number of plumbers from where you live. Out of this list, the company you’ll choose will be within the top three search results. The first ranked position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic. The second position receives 11.94%, with the third obtaining 8.47%. This means that getting found online is everything because God forbid ever looking to page 2 of the Google results.

So how can this be achieved?

You might remember from The Apprentice Mark mentioning the term SEO. This is short for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the art – and we do mean art – of moving a website up in search ranking results. This can be done in two different ways, through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising or more organically.

  • PPC - This translates to actually paying for traffic to your website through PPC advertising programmes. They enable you to display ads in the sponsored results section of each search engine's results page. Then, you pay a fee - based on how competitive your chosen keyword is – whenever a viewer clicks through from your ad to your website. PPC can also operate through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Organically – Alternatively, you can achieve a high Google ranking through natural results. This will take time, but is the approach we recommend here at Giraffe. It means building up a targeted, engaged audience through the strength of your online personality. This is achieved through social media and content marketing.

Holes in Mark’s business plan

Why Mark said his digital marketing service would be different to the hundreds of others out there is because he is to focus on providing a personal service. However, how can a service be personal if he is to outsource the company’s technical – and most important – work? The short answer is, it can’t and many holes began to surface the more the winner spoke about his business idea. In essence, Mark is a salesman; therefore while his understanding of the digital marketing landscape is there, the actual practice of implementing any kind of strategy is not.

The solution

The solution is simple. If you want to achieve a higher ranking in a search engines as well as this personalised service so that your efforts as a business owner and the expertise of digital marketers are in alignment, choose a company who can achieve this. It’s not enough to simply have a good website anymore. Google has moved on and so have your customers. It’s essential now to have social media in order to promote content that you have created. Social media has changed everything, so if you’re a small to medium business owner who wants results, we are the company who have a proven track record in succeeding.

Photo Source: Damien Everett [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Would You Let Your Employees Use Facebook At Work?

Facebook At Work

Many companies still block employees from using Facebook at work. While we’re a social media company and encourage employees to use it (obviously),  it’s understandable that some don’t, after all, they don’t want their workforce to be distracted by the latest Grumpy Cat meme or The Lad Bible; they want staff to be focussed on the job at hand.

Well, Facebook has listened and responded. In January they launched a Facebook at Work version of its service in a bid to win over the corporate critics. The innovative new idea was launched as a test for ‘pilot partners’ whose employees will be able to download the Facebook at Work mobile application for iOS or Android devices, as well as using its website.

Facebook has ambitions of mixing it with the likes of Google and Microsoft in order to compete with workplace communication tools and this certainly appears to be a step in the right direction. Roughly 61% of office workers use social media during the day and Facebook takes up a huge share of that activity.

Many employers see this as a negative and here’s why. Facebook’s highest traffic actually occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 pm. This equates to a 1.5% decrease in productivity, which adds up to 12 billion hours wasted per year with a cost of over £300 billion to the employee’s companies. A study last year found that more than 54% of offices currently block Facebook on work computers as a result.

But Facebook will be looking to turn this negative in to a positive and harness the social media platform’s incredible popularity to stimulate conversation in the workplace. According to The Financial Times the new service would be completely separate from Facebook’s consumer product. The FT say that the service would allow users to message their colleagues, connect with other people in their professional network, and collaborate on work projects.

'We are going to continue preparing for the future by investing aggressively, connecting everyone, understanding the world, and building the next-generation in computing platforms,' said boss Mark Zuckerberg. If Facebook can successfully accomplish a service that can be integrated in the working environment, it would certainly have a captive audience and make the platform far more appealing for businesses and advertisers.

Photo Source:By MC1 Daniel Hinton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Are Your Facebook Photos Really Hidden?

Facebook Front We’ve all been there. You attended a party at the weekend and let’s just say you were looking a little bit worse for wear towards the end of the night. During this point in the evening – when you’re really only looking forward to a delicious kebab and a taxi home – somebody thinks it would be an inspired idea to take lots, and lots, and lots of photographs so these moments can live forever in the world of Facebook (and your nightmares).

You wake up the very next morning and scroll through your timeline to examine what you missed on social media from the night before. Naturally, you are horrified when you’re directed to ‘Stacey’s Album 2k15’ that she uploaded just 7 hours ago. You’re then greeted with the images that snap happy Stacey took of you looking positively dreadful. You immediately hide them photos from your timeline so nobody ever has to witness them again. Gone forever. Or are they?

A company called Picturebook claims to have invented an app that allows you to view these hidden photos. What’s more, you don’t even have to be friends with the people whose photos you want to view. Pretty scary, huh? At this point you may be thinking, how is this even possible? After all, I’ve got my privacy settings locked down and you would be right in thinking this. No app or browser extension – Picturebook included – is allowed to alter these privacy settings, but what the app is doing is resurfacing photos that you could have seen anyway, despite the user hiding them from their timeline.

So just because you’re hiding these unflattering photos, won’t make them disappear from Facebook altogether. What you have to do is completely untag yourself from the pop-up window that appears. It’s only by doing this that Picturebook cannot find the images you’ve hidden.

An alternative way of preventing this from happening is politely instructing Stacey that no, I would not like my photo to be taken at this unlawful hour and if you do upload these photos, I shall have my revenge. Joking of course, but now is a good time to revisit your Facebook privacy settings to ensure you’re in control of what others see on your profile. The social network recently made privacy settings more accessible with a new Privacy Basics page, intended to make this process easier.

Photo Source: By LPS.1 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

10 Stupidly Brilliant Life Hacks You Need In Your Life

We all want to make our lives simpler, don’t we? Well, thanks to the Internet, you now can. These inspired tricks and shortcuts are a sure fire way to optimise the way you live and save you a bit of money along the way. Here are our 10 favourite life hacks we've seen buzzing around the internet.  You need them in your life right now…

1. The Toilet Roll Speaker - Who knew those things at the end of a toilet roll could be put to good use.

toilet roll speaker

 

2. The Lunchbox - CD’s or bagel? Easy decision really.

bagel-to-go-by-Rodrigo-Piwonka

 

3. The Cookbook Holder - Why has nobody told us this sooner?

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4. The Sideways Toaster - Again, there should be lessons in school teaching us this stuff…

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5. The Frozen Grapes -  This is common sense, but still - brilliant.

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6. Bin Bags Made Easy - A couple of holes in the bin will allow you to remove the bag easy!

7.LifeHacks

7. Post-It Cleaning - Very handy, I’ve got a years worth of BLT crumbs down the cracks of my keyboard.

post-it-note-keyboard-cleaner2

8. Quick iPhone Charge -  Put your phone on Airplane mode while charging to speed things up!

tip-5

 

9. Reheating Pizza - We did this anyway, but did you? Put water in the microwave when heating, to keep the moisture in your pizza.

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10. Take Pictures of Friends Who Borrow Your Stuff - With this technique, friends not giving back your stuff will be a thing of the past.

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Not so much of a life hack, this just made us lol

Why Social Media Managers Need To Smarten Up On Facebook

MarkZuckerberg

Have you noticed that your Facebook News Feed has changed somewhat in recent times? Where once upon a time you used to be inundated with everything from everybody, these days you are seeing way more promotional posts from businesses trying to get you to buy something. For the average Facebooker, this isn’t ideal and makes for a less than perfect user-friendly experience.

If you cast your minds back to the early days of Facebook, creator Mark Zuckerberg was increasingly reluctant to put ads on to the site at all and claimed to be less interested in making money and more interested in making users happy. Very commendable. But with pressure being applied from every angle (as depicted by the film The Social Network) the ad-free days didn’t last long.

Since then, and before anybody really knew the potential and value of the social media platform, Facebook has and continues to make plenty of rule changes that affects users. Probably the most significant of these is the evolution of the news feed. If you were previously unaware – we hate to break it to you – but Zuckerberg and co have been filtering what you do and don’t see for years (they make no secret of this). But these changes are all geared to making Facebook as effective as possible for individuals as well as businesses.

The latest development – which is to be introduced in 2015 – is that the company promises users will see fewer of these ‘promotional’ posts from businesses in their news feeds. They say this is just one in a series of new measures the platform has taken to ensure News Feeds don't get overloaded with useless content. In a statement they said,

“As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”

According to Facebook, this promotional content won’t refer to advertisements, but from pages that individuals have liked. So if you – as a Facebook admin of a page – continue to post solely about buying products, pushing promotions or sweepstakes or installing apps, with ‘no real context’ you can expect the social networking service to penalise you.

This means that for us Social Media Managers, we have to be smarter about what we do. Of course, it is in Facebook’s interests to keep users as engaged as possible so they don’t lose interest in the site and they are hoping this development will do just that. So how can your business successfully run a Facebook page, which meets this new criterion? The key is to be as engaging as possible!

"Businesses should think about their page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply a publishing service," Facebook commented. "The businesses that are doing this well understand the discovery and communication that happens when people come to their page."

As legend goes, when Zuckerberg first brought on Mike Murphy as Facebook's ad sales man way back in 2006 (just 2 years after the social network launched) he said, "I don't hate all advertising. I just hate advertising that stinks." Since then, because of the site’s popularity in the business world, the Facebook team appear to have made it their mission to make ads more engaging and sophisticated and this new change clearly personifies this attitude.

Photo Source: By Robert Scoble (Flickr: Facebook Press Conference) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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