Welcome to our expert blog on social media, marketing, technology and lots more

Facebook Tests Snapchat-style Features

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Facebook looks set to tap into the world of Snapchat as it begins testing a new snapchat-esque self-destructing messaging feature for users in France - and it isn’t the first time they have tried to take them on...

A new Facebook feature, allowing users to send ephemeral messages that soon disappear an hour after they are sent, is being tested in France. Like Snapchat, these messages will not be automatically saved or stored on the user's device. However, unlike Snapchat, it has not been developed as a stand-alone feature - rather it has been designed to fit into the Messenger app.

The feature is operated by selecting an hourglass icon within the Messenger app, remaining active until it has been disabled. Whilst it is on, messages are removed once read and conversations cannot be saved or archived for viewing at a later date.

Facebook has reported here...

“We’re excited to announce the latest in an engaging line of optional product features geared towards making Messenger the best way to communicate with the people that matter most… Starting today, we’re conducting a small test in France of a feature that allows people to send messages that disappear an hour after they’re sent. Disappearing messages gives people another fun option to choose from when they communicate…”

Facebook’s repeated attempts at overpowering Snapchat

The new feature is not the first time that the social media giant has attempted to thwart the hip and trendy Snapchat. For example, having failed to beat their rivals in 2012 with “Poke”, in 2014 Facebook developed and launched the app “Slingshot” in an attempt to out-feature Snapchat. It is not a surprise to see, yet again, Facebook attempting to muscle in on Snapchat’s turf as they had originally been acquisition targets for them.

Will the feature be a success? No doubt it will be used by those on messenger but Facebook certainly have their work cut out if they want to convert Snapchat users.

Why it’s difficult to heart Twitter’s new update

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Twitter’s new ‘heart’ update has been received with a wide variety of feedback; some love it, others despise the change. With an icon shift to something so emotionally recognisable, there are certainly a number of undeniable psychological positives. However, criticism has labelled the update as unwarranted - and there are certainly other factors that make it difficult to love...

On November 3rd 2015 , alongside this statement, Twitter released a small change to their interface that would have a big impact on how users interacted with each other through the network. By switching their old ‘favourite’ star icon to a heart and renaming them ‘likes’, they could have helped social media marketers in the ever-challenging world of performance measuring.

The reasoning...

The reason such a small shift can have such a large impact is due to terminology and visual stimulation. While the concept of a ‘favourite’ was challenging for some people - there are certainly a limited number of posts that one can consider a favourite - users are more likely to ‘like’ something. Twitter say that in tests it was loved; “the heart… is a universal symbol that resonates across languages… enabling you to convey a range of emotions and easily connect with people.”

Twitter have already shown us how much they love hearts on Periscope - so it's no wonder they have gone the whole hog and brought them to Twitter and Vine.

One thing Twitter didn’t realise…

One thing Twitter didn’t properly take into account is usability for people who suffer from a certain type of colourblindness. In apps like tweetdeck, the new heart is shown in red alongside the retweet button in green - two colour hues that those who suffer from the most common form of colourblindedness cannot distinguish between. Silly Twitter. Read more about that here.

Common reactions to the update…

As we mentioned earlier, not everybody thinks that the update was truly warranted. Alongside purposefully humorous tweets about flirting, some marketing big-wigs have expressed their dislike over the update, such as EVP and Creative Integration Director of Erwin Penland, Kevin Purcer, who said…

“Sure, it provides more consistency across social platforms, but it also waters down the meaning of interaction. To be a ‘favorite’ implies much more of an endorsement than a simple like, which was actually kind of cool and unique about it. But if consumers and more willing to ‘like’ content than ‘favorite’, it makes Twitter’s engagement rates more appealing to marketers who place a lot of value in such metrics.”

What do we think...

We believe Kevin could very well have a point. There was certainly something cool about favourites and their relative scarcity in comparison to Facebook likes. There is also the chance that as more ‘likes’ are generated, users will be less susceptible to retweeting - which is much better for increasing your brand’s reach.

While the update could certainly make it easier for social media marketers to set targets and measure the performance of their content, we can’t help but feel that something has been lost by completely ousting favourites. Sure, the addition of another degree of interaction on top of what was already there could contravene the Social Network’s relative simplicity, but we liked being able to classify something as a favourite.

What are your thoughts?...

Meet the Giraffe Team: Jessie Rodda

Jessie Rodda Social Media Manager Giraffe Social MediaHere at Giraffe, we recognise just how important each and every member of our team is. Our little individual personalities are what make us so successful, and we are a very social bunch. So you can get a better idea of what we are all like, we’d love you to meet some of us! Up today: Jessie Rodda, Social Media Manager.

Who are you are you, and what do you do at Giraffe?
Hi! I am Jessie Rodda and I’m a Social Media Manager at Giraffe. I’m in charge of running campaigns for a wide variety of clients; everything from authors to hypnotherapists! Meanwhile drinking a lot of coffee and playing terribly at table tennis.

How long have you been here at Giraffe?
I have been here since the end of June.

What do you like most about working here?
I like the creative aspect of the job and I love the fact that I get to do what I am passionate about. I also love the laid back atmosphere and having the privilege to work alongside a very lovely team.

Thanks Jessie, you’re not so bad yourself! Has anything happened recently that you’re particularly proud of?
One of my clients Eko Atlantic got over 6000 new followers over the weekend! They are a new city being built in Lagos, Nigeria, intended to be the new financial hub of West Africa - exciting stuff!

If you could give one tip to somebody looking to boost their Social Media presence, what would it be?
Always have your audience at the forefront of everything you do!

What would you do if you weren’t a Social Media manager?
Probably saving the world through the power of telekinesis… However, I don’t have the power of telekinesis… So I’ll probably just stick to being a Social Media Manager.

You may have just answered this, but if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Actually it probably wouldn’t be telekinesis. I’d like to be able to fly because I can’t drive and most of the time I don’t really want to walk anywhere.

What’s your favourite book?
I have two! Either The Shining by Stephen King or The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor.

What’s your favourite quote?
The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because the have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” J.M. Barrie

What’s the theme song to your life and why?
I don’t want it to be, but I think it is almost definitely “Creep” by Radiohead. The reason why is fairly self-explanatory.

Finally, how do you like your eggs in the morning?
I like mine with a kiss! Ha, no. Dippy egg and soldiers all the way.

Is Instagram Bad for Photography?

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Since it was launched in October 2010, Instagram has quickly caught on as one of the world’s primary photo sharing platforms. On it you can take a photo, make it look pretty and share it with the world in a matter of seconds. But is that good news for the photography industry?

Instagram is the brainchild of co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. According to the app’s frequently asked questions which are available here, it was created in an attempt to challenge the assumption that taking good photos required a big bulky camera. They list three specific issues that they have tried to solve by creating Instagram

“One - mobile photos always come out looking mediocre. Our awesome looking filters transform your photos into professional-looking snapshots. Two - sharing on multiple platforms is a pain - we help you take a picture once, then share it (instantly) on multiple services. Three - most uploading experiences are clumsy and take forever - we’ve optimised the experience to be fast and efficient.”

Instagram profiles are set to public by default - however users do have the option to make their profile private if they so wish. Therefore there is certainly an aspect of sharing involved in the service. The network can be integrated with your other profiles on networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Is Instagram harming the photography industry?

It’s difficult to reach an unequivocal answer over the effect that Instagram is having on the photography industry, however there are certainly those who have major aversions to it.

A common factor that critics draw issue with are Instagram’s creative filters. While these certainly fit with the app’s ease of use aspect, many argue that they aren’t high quality and that they can put the photo-taker under the misconception that they are more talented than they are. For example, in an article written for the Guardian back in July 2012, Kate Bevan commented that “these filters spoil pictures: they get in the way of the image and they distort the story the picture is telling.” She describes filters as “the antithesis of creativity… one click and you’re done.” In December 2013, London based Mexican photographer Antonio Olmos went one step further when talking about camera phones by saying that “Photography has never been so popular, but it’s getting destroyed. There have never been so many photographs taken, but photography is dying.”

While we don’t necessarily believe that photography is dying per se, we think that users should have a clear perception of what Instagram is for. As a social media management company, we understand and empathise with the vision of Systrom and Krieger. The app is a brilliant platform for instantly sharing a moment and pictures do really say a thousand words. It is also an incredibly useful tool for marketing. But it is not a replacement for professional photography.

Far from scorn the platform, professional photographers should harness Instagram’s marketing possibility for their photography. They should face facts that a person who cannot tell the difference between a richly edited photograph taken by a talented photographer and a picture of a cocktail taken on a phone and layered with a sepia tone glaze would never have been their audience in the first place.

Could Social Media Change the World?

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Social media as a phenomenon has grown at an exponential rate, to the point in which it is ingrained in our culture. Social networks have become places where users are able to communicate, express themselves and remember the past at the click of a button. Through social networks, Internet users can not only interact with the online world; they can forge an identity within it.

Social media has already changed a great deal many things. It has changed the way we communicate, the way we share information and how we prioritise our time. It allows us to gauge whether a certain person is really a good or bad influence and gives us a peephole into others’ lives to discover the things that really matter to them. Through it we can be both ourselves and the person we aspire to be. But it can also be a concern.

What is concerning...

Last year a survey of 2,000 smart-phone users by Tecmark discovered that the average user looks at their phone 221 times a day, equating to 3 hours and 16 minutes over 24 hours, which is the equivalent of almost a whole day a week. While this came as great news for the digital marketing world, is it great news for the real world?

A few years ago I was able to study alongside Gary Turk, the guy who created the Look Up video that now has over 53 million views on YouTube. While I don’t necessarily believe that smartphones are quite the villain Mr Turk makes them out to be, he certainly has a point. If we’re known for frequently engaging on social media, we need to make darn sure we’re also engaging socially in 'real life' - and even more frequently than in the digital world. Otherwise, what do we really have to talk about?

Believe me - we might spend every waking hour on social media, but every single person at Giraffe is incredibly 'real-life' social. Our office is a loud place and there is always something going on. Feel free to pop in if you’re ever around Portsmouth.

How social media can change the world

Social media is a powerful tool. We as users are responsible for making sure it gets put to good use. When you consider just how fast information can spread on the platforms, this should only be good news - in situations like disasters when response speed can mean the difference between lives saved and lost, instantaneous communication is an incredible thing. The same can be applied for spreading awareness of charitable efforts and inspiring response - the sheer reach over a small amount of time is unsurpassable by other forms of media. Sadly the spread of information isn’t always good.

Misinformation and propaganda is often passed off as fact by networks with extremist views which is then shared. This often finds its way onto feeds of vulnerable people who will believe it. Not only that but other more trivial things can actually have a knock-on effect on the lives of others. For example, a study by researchers at the University of California, Yale and Facebook discovered that emotions can actually be spread via social networks.

What do we need to do?

Most people’s natural reaction to racist, extremist or negative views on social media is to unfriend or unfollow the culprit - but will this really help in the long run? If we are careless we could end up with two networks - one which breeds hate and hostility towards others - and one which doesn't, but doesn't acknowledge the other. We need to challenge those views - not with anger but with humility. Then we can help others grow in their understanding of others and promote tolerance in this global society.

Aside from that - we need to be positive! Remember that study we mentioned earlier about emotions being spread by social media? Well, it claims that positive emotions can have a stronger impact than negative ones. Cool right?! So yes, angry people can make us angry, and grumpy people can make us grumpy - but happy people will certainly make us happy - and when we're happy, we will make them happy! So those positive posts you "only do every once in a while"? Do those more.

If we use it wisely, social media could evoke the positive social change that we want to see in the world - then, yes, social media could change the world.

Isn’t “Digital Marketing” Just “Marketing”?

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The power of digital marketing is a very real and discernible thing. You don’t have to look far to see evidence of successes that businesses have had as a result of their digital presence. So why do we still call it ‘digital marketing’? Isn’t it just ‘marketing’ now?

Digital marketing is merely a phrase we use to describe marketing that happens through digital channels. Years ago when it was a particularly new concept, the two terms may have been useful to help differentiate between something that we know is important (marketing) and something that is becoming more influential and may well be important soon (digital marketing). But now, with social media and the digital world very much a part of life, wouldn’t it make sense to amalgamate the two?

As if it wasn’t enough that digital marketing holds so much weight (it’s a digital world, after all), it can be argued that some traditional forms of marketing are becoming less and less important now. For anybody who is strictly digital, these include anything from printed material for distribution such as magazines and newsletters, direct mail, broadcast including radio and television and telemarketing. These still hold substantial importance, particularly for local businesses, however certainly some companies have gained from reinvesting their budget from traditional into digital.

Hang on, hasn’t this happened already?

In 2013, research and analysis company Forrester decided to predict that ‘Digital Marketing’ was going to become ‘Marketing’ in that year - as all marketers output was set to become “inherently digital”. Either they were wrong or somebody failed to actually tell the digital marketers.

Everybody took this news with a degree of intrigue and there were countless articles written about it (including this one by Marketing Week), alongside plenty of heated discussions on LinkedIn by people wearing suits. Their arguments were pretty much the same as ours - marketing is marketing and digital is discipline within it. Many appeared to be bothered by terminology, but we reckon that was really not the issue. What was and still is important was recognising what to prioritise to promote evolution.

What should we call it then?

Let’s get one thing straight - it really doesn’t matter. But that isn’t enough for Marketers; everything has to be branded, including the work itself. With that in mind, far from the digitalisation of output causing it to become ‘just marketing’, we now have far more work titles. Social Media Marketing Manager, Content Marketing Manager, Digital Marketing Contributor, Online Marketing Strategist, PPC Marketing Expert. Your title will depend on your specialist discipline. And yes - it is all just marketing - which is like saying that Einstein was just a Scientist.

'Marketing' is very much the industry and, like every other industry, it takes a huge variety of skills and disciplines to be successful. That goes for digital as well - there are as many digital marketing platforms and areas of expertise that the way to succeed is to have a team with a wide variety of skills.

Boomerang – Instagram’s new GIF creation app

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On the 22nd October this year Instagram released a new stand-alone app that allows users to create Gif style video loops. With its uncluttered and comfortably sleek interface Boomerang is a great example of a micro-video sharing app, and no matter how hard we try we just can’t seem to throw it away.

Boomerang works this way - users take a burst of five photos that are then combined into a single one second video that is played back and forth on loop. The app doesn’t have its own feed so it has clearly been designed to compliment Instagram and to assist users in frequently creating quality, engaging original content.

These clips, or “Booms” as we like to call them, are automatically saved onto the user’s camera roll and are easily shared to various social networks from the platform. Users do not even have to log in or have an Instagram account - which is a thumbs up for usability in our book.

Isn’t it just a tiny Vine?

Although the concept bares resemblance to Twitter’s Vine app, in essence it really isn’t the same thing at all. While it takes a certain amount of skill to create a successful Vine, crafting a jolly Boom (I plan on making that a thing before the end of this article) is simpler. Good Vines normally require a pun or at the very least a central idea. A Boom is really just a silly expression of a movement and also a nice way to immortalise a moment.

What is the target audience?

While Boomerang isn’t a network in itself, it is clearly an Insta-add-on. Instagram is in competition with Snapchat for the teen market so it could well be an attempt at making the network more attractive for younger users. That said, if older users with a creative eye for detail get their hands on it, we could find our feeds full of fantastically flamboyant (flantastic?) Gifs.

Could it prove useful for businesses?

Boomerang could certainly be useful for some brands, particularly businesses that have and element of movement involved in the day-to-day running of their business. For example, we would love to see coffee shops sharing Booms of their Baristas creating latte art. That would certainly help users pick up a thirst. With Social Media for businesses, creating engaging, quality content is key to building - and retaining - a following of consumers and potential customers. Boomerang is a nifty app that could help with this mission.

Boomerang was released on 22nd October 2015 and is currently available on both Android and IOS devices. Why not download it today, get “booming” and see what engagement it could help you generate!

Social Media Popularity Update: Autumn 2015

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Wondering what the most and least popular social networks have been throughout the last few months? In our Social Media Popularity Update we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting facts and figures we can find.

As any Social Media Marketing Guru knows, digital marketing campaigns without analysis are completely pointless. The same can be said to apply to the channels themselves - in order to target any campaign, whether it be paid or organic, you need to understand where your audience is. And part of reading your audience can be seen through popularity trends amongst users.

The popularity of each social network is constantly changing as users join or leave, engage or disengage. So to help you understand the state of the industry we have put together our Social Media Popularity Update.

*Please note that some of these statistics may have changed slightly since they were reported, and should only be used as awesome guide examples.

The scale of Internet users

In case you’ve been living under a rock and still don’t quite understand the importance of digital, let us give you an example of the sheer magnitude of the market that are now on the internet. According to figures provided by the International Telecommunications Union, in 2005, an average 16% of a world population of 6.5 billion were using the internet. This was made up of around 51% of the population of the developed world, and only 8% of the developing world. In 2014, an estimated 40% of a world population of 7.2 billion are reported to be internet users. Now 78% of the population of the developed world are users, and percentage of users from the developing world has grown to 38%.

That is a lot of people - 2.88 billion to be precise - and that figure has undoubtedly grown substantially over the last year.


Key demographic:
Under 30s - particularly popular with women

Percentage of online adults that use it:

Amount of active users:
1.49 billion active monthly users

Percentage of users that use the site at least once a day:
65%, equating to nearly 696 million

Amount of daily active users:
968 million

Number of small businesses with a Facebook page:
40 million

Percentage of posts to pages that aren’t replied to:

Two most likely reasons for users to unlike a Facebook page by percentage:
1. Uninteresting posts (32%)
2. Too many posts (28%)


Key demographic:
Similar amount of males to females, main users in the range of 18-29 years

Percentage of online adults that use it:

Amount of active users:
Over 270 million

Amount of businesses that the average user follows:
5 or more

Most popular brand on Twitter:


Key demographic:
Over 30s, mostly educated to the equivalent of graduate level and higher

Percentage of online adults that use it:

Number of unique monthly visiting members:
97 million

Increase in likelihood of a profile view when you include a profile photo:
Around 11 times

Number of LinkedIn member page views in the 2nd Quarter of 2015:
35 billion

Average number of jobs that professionals think look good:
3 Jobs


Key demographic:
Mostly 19-29 year olds, predominantly females. Around 90% of users are under 35 years old.

Percentage of online adults that use it:

Amount of monthly active users:
300 million

Percentage of accounts that are inactive:
An estimated 30%

Percentage of accounts that are fake spam bots:

Amount of active UK users:
Around 14 million

Percentage of UK teens that use Instagram weekly:

There you have it! We hope that the information comes in useful when considering your next digital venture. Thinking about maximising your social media potential? Why not get in touch and see what we can do for you.

5 Places to get Spooky Vectors this Halloween

Halloween Vectors

If part of your job is making social media and blog posts more visually stimulating then you probably already appreciate the power of a good vector. They are aesthetically pleasing, versatile and easily editable. To get the best from your holiday graphics you want the best vectors possible - and Halloween is no exception.

Vectors are really useful because of their scale-ability which makes them perfect for cross platform posting. They are ideal for giving your Halloween graphics that “spooky” feel. But sometimes you simply don’t have the time to draw something yourself. Luckily there are some great sites that provide vectors. But where is the best place to find them? We’ve scoured the web in search eerie images to help you find the sites with the best vectors possible this all hallows eve…


Pixabay is a firm favourite here at Giraffe for discovering both vectors and normal images. All of these except the premium options are public domain and no attribution is required when using them. Alongside that it has a slick, easy to use layout. According to their site “you can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications,” which is great news for marketers.


Vecteezy is a great resource for discovering vectors, many of which have free to use licenses, which makes it perfect for finding vectors for one-off graphics. It can also be useful for larger projects as it has quite an extensive community of artists offering premium options. According to their about us section they have over one million visitors a month.


Aiconica is the place to find vector icons that are free to use without attribution. You can choose a specific colour direct from the website before downloading these icons to help them match the rest of your branding. While they don’t offer complex vector graphics we felt they were certainly worth including. If you are just looking for icons, this is definitely worth checking out. According to their about section, they are a group of developers and artists who decided to create completely free, no-attribution necessary icons all dedicated to public domain. Which we think is just great.

Vector Open Stock

Vector Open Stock is also a good place to find vectors with different licenses - in a handy format. Information about each vector is displayed when the images are hovered over which makes for a speedier ease of use. However, most licenses call for artist credits.


Although it has a slightly less attractive website than over options, and it can be confusing when differentiating between premium and free graphics, Vectorportal is nonetheless a useful site for finding Halloween vectors. While it might not necessarily be our favourite, you may well find some gems on here if you are willing to put in the effort.

That’s our round-up of the best places to get spooky vectors this Halloween. There are definitely plenty of other options out there, each with their own positive (and negative) points. Got a site that you swear by? Please feel free to comment with it below. Happy Halloween!

This Year’s Most Disturbing Halloween Hashtag

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Halloween can be a scary time. Not because small people knock on your door covered in blood and threaten you for sweets - for some reason we’ve long come to accept that practice as commonplace. What we mean is that it can be a scary time in the world of social media.

Year after year around this time the world of social media can begin to take a darker turn. Many businesses try their utmost to take advantage of the holiday to up their marketing efforts - and why shouldn’t they. It's the perfect opportunity to showcase the lighter, fun side of your brand both in the real world and in the digital - in fact, if you’re wondering how to do that here is a little guide we put together. But sometimes these can go awry.

When these marketing efforts go slightly askew it can lead to some strange conversations on social media. And those strange conversations can lead to some very bizarre hashtags. This year one hashtag in particular takes the biscuit...


Yes, that is correct. This whopper of a hashtag is thanks to the whopper - Burger King’s Halloween Whopper to be precise. At first glance their spooky burger is much the same as a normal whopper except it has a black bun - but it also has another little known effect. It turns out that thanks to the food colouring used in the buns production it also turns the consumer’s excretions a shockingly bright shade of green. According to Burger King’s nutritional information it’s completely natural - so, you know, that’s good.

So this year's most unflattering hashtag is thanks to Burger King and the twitter users who will happily over-share for a retweet. Thanks guys.

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