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Community Management Mistakes That Will Alienate Your Audience

Community management mistakes to make

Every social media marketing strategy calls for community management to some extent. The degree to which these responsibilities take centre stage are dependent on the scale of each operation - while some smaller businesses may delegate community management as a secondary role for certain individuals, others require a full-time, devoted community manager. Either way, getting it wrong can completely alienate an audience.

Community management is often looked at by social media managers with a touch of disdain - a box to be ticked. But the truth is that for any business serious about converting visitors to their page into anything other than passive observers, good community management is key.

The issue here isn’t one of misunderstanding, it’s motivation. Marketers and Comms professionals are well aware of the need for community management, but find it naturally taking a back seat to other areas of their social media strategy.

Community management needn’t be looked at as a burden - on the contrary, it should be seen as the epitome of engagement. By avoiding some common mistakes you can be sure that your community remains on your side and seriously increase your chances of converting visitors to your page.

Be sure to respond in a timely fashion

The benefits of a good response time are obvious, especially on Facebook where users can see how long it normally takes for you to respond. A good response time is integral to making a community feel valued and respected. Remember that an active posting strategy is also something of an invited for engagement. When you respond to at least 90 percent of messages within two minutes you will get yourself the elusive “Very responsive to messages” icon - a good accolade for community-focused businesses.

Listen and respond correctly

Clearly it isn’t worth responding to a message with something irrelevant just for the response factor. You need to be sure that you are on hand to respond appropriately for each query. What this looks like will depend on your business and the nature of messages that you often receive. It can be worth drafting up a list of common queries and the sort of response that you should have - but don’t lose the human factor...

Sound like a human being - have some fun

Sounding like a bot is a sure-fire way to turn off any audience member. This is your ultimate chance to show off the human side of your brand so  don’t be afraid to have some fun if the message calls for it. This voice will relate to your business and to the message in question - fun tones for fun messages, concerned tones for serious ones and complaints.

Don't try and make it about you or your business

So the likelihood is that a user’s query is going to relate to your business, that’s a given. But what you should avoid is trying to turn around a question and make it into something else. It is not a chance to try and push a sale for a service that your audience hasn’t asked for (unless that is expressly relevant to them), and it isn’t a chance to pass the buck about mistakes. Keep focused and thank them for reaching out to you.

The Next Macbooks Could Include E-Ink Keyboards

Macbook e-ink keyboard rumours

As technology has advanced one staple has held firm - the Qwerty keyboard. Now it seems that the next generation of Apple’s Macbooks could feature e-ink keyboards as a dynamic evolution of the traditional.

According to a rumour brought to light by The Wall Street Journal, Apple Inc. are reportedly teaming up with a Foxconn-backed Australian start-up start called Sonder Design for their latest keyboard design. Sonder market their benchmark product, the world’s first e-ink keyboard, with the tagline “infinite possibilities at your fingertips”.

E-ink is the same technology used in Kindle and other e-reader devices to create a paper effect. It may sound like another flight-of-fancy for Apple by but Sonder have already made the technology. On their website they list the “infinite possibilities”:

“Customise your keyboard from QWERTY to DVORAK, from English to Chinese and beyond. Type emoticons to text, or create your very own keys to perform whatever command you wish... Create macros to eliminate long, complex sequences of commands to the touch of a single keystroke along with its own custom icon.”

Okay, so the idea of macros and keyboard shortcuts is by no means new, but does that mean the change would be purely aesthetic? Unlikely - the range of different characters (languages and Emojis) that we now engage with is insurmountable in comparison to the pre-Raphaelite age of computing in the early nineties.

E-ink keyboard buttons would have multiple benefits for Apple. In theory they would totally streamline the production process, ridding the need for separate production lines for different alphabets. Not only would the premise potentially be appealing to multi-lingual users who regularly engage with different alphabets, but if the rumours are true then it could also assist in the use of hotkeys for those who use media software. It could also potentially streamline the experience for the average user by making it easier to input Emoji or ASCII art before switching back to a conventional Qwerty layout.

Apple has yet to comment on the rumours. A page on Sonder’s website gives very little away but mentions “partnering with experienced manufacturers, Sonder will redefine laptop keyboard design and user experience.”

Instagram Introduces Mental Health Support Tools

Instagram Introduces Suicide Prevention Tools

Social media has really helped open up opportunities for identification of depression and mental illness, and offers significant potential for prevention. Now Instagram have joined parent company Facebook on their task to do their part in helping individuals who might be struggling.

Instagram have introduced a new tool that helps identify and offer support for potential issues of negative mental health. It allows users to anonymously report posts by their friends that they consider to be a concern. These reports result in an automatic notification offering a list of resources for support to the user in question, alongside the words “someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.”

The new tool is almost identical to the suicide prevention tools rolled out to UK Facebook users back in February 2016. Flagged posts are reviewed by Instagram’s team who will send the auto-message if they agree that the users could be at risk of self-harm or suicide. Resources include contact details for a helpline, tips and support, and an option to contact a trusted friend.  Marni Tomljanovic, a spokeswoman for the network, said this:

“We have teams working around the world, 24/7, who review these reports. They prioritise the most serious reports and respond quickly. If someone on Instagram sees a direct threat of suicide or self-injury, we encourage them to contact local emergency services immediately.”

Often warning signs displayed by at-risk individuals on social networking are some of the first that friends will be able to spot. On Instagram the markers can be so specific that a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont recently developed an AI program which can identify clinical depression in users’ posts at an accuracy rate of 70 percent.

Ensuring Social Media Security

Social Media Security

Social media has significantly reduced the time it takes for messages to be communicated between brand and consumer, and vice versa. When you look at networks in terms of business and user growth’s popularity is undeniable - but as you’d expect with any technology at this scale there are security risks.

As a marketing channel social media offers way more over a shorter period of time than “traditional” methods could in terms of integration and engagement. This is why it now commands a significant majority of brands’ marketing spend per year. Sadly, malicious agents are more than aware of this and often see social networking as something of an opportunity.

The first step towards ensuring social media security is having an awareness of which areas are most prone to security breaches. A strong social media policy is often the first step to maximising security for brands, business and organisations. Quite often malicious activity on a business page isn’t the work of a hacker but a result of negligence on the part of those with page roles, so retaining an awareness of each employee’s ability is really important.

One thing’s for sure, when it comes to social media the benefits outweigh the negatives. It certainly doesn't pay to ignore it on principle of what could happen when all it takes is awareness of a few particular areas to prevent security issues...

Direct issues with social networks

Social media sites are constantly fending off attacks to their servers simply because they are such an irresistible target. These servers contain billions of potentially confidential pieces of personal information, making them a gold mine for hackers. Social networking sites may have stepped up their game - Facebook recently announced it had paid over $5 million to altruistic hackers over the past 5 years for unveiling potential bugs in their system - but hackers are a notoriously resilient bunch.

Because there is no such thing as a hacker-proof server, certain measures should be taken in regards to limiting what sort of information is shared across it. Although it may help to save time, sharing potentially confidential business information across social messaging should be avoided at all costs. Specially designed cloud storage and project management software is far more secure.

Your social media policy

As with anything, when it comes to social media security prevention is the key to tackling issues. Your social media policy should be the first place to look for this. It should provide full information about how employees can and can’t use your social media accounts, the type of information that can be shared and who is authorised to engage in this activity.

When a new employee begins ensure that your social media policy is shared with them and they are encouraged to fully read and understand all of the information within it. It should encourage employees to develop their own personal understanding of the risks associated with social media usage and, if required, seek any training as needed.

Malicious apps, scams, spyware, viruses etc; etc…

The internet boom of the nineties led the scammers into a new era of digital deceit. Now it’s the turn of the social networks. These often come in the style of unsolicited friend requests, automated messages and strange tags, but they are constantly thinking up new and inventive ways to mislead people. Third-party apps and software can also compromise the security of your network.

Your social media policy should have strict guidelines regarding the use of third-party apps. It should also discuss how unsolicited users and automated messages are often scams and should be avoided at all costs. The heart of this document should be that uncertainty should lead to an employee seeking assistance and under no circumstance should suspicious looking links be clicked.

Concerned about social media security? Tweet us your question @GiraffeSM.

Integrating Stories into Your Instagram Strategy

Instagram Stories Strategy

Instagram Stories; initially dismissed by marketers as “basically just Snapchat”, now an undeniably useful feature with potential to boost and expand an Instagram strategy with even more visual content, and the opportunity to humanise and create transparency for a brand.

Stories are yet another an example of a social network developing a competing feature that responds to the demands of the average user and enables healthy growth among key audience demographics. As an inherently raw and personalised feature it offers users authentic glances into the day-to-day lives of their friends, people they admire and, most importantly, the brands they engage with.

The what and why of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are an incredibly simple concept. They basically allow users to produce an ephemeral stream of videos and photos intended to purvey a unique “story” for their day. Unlike general Instagram content were the intention is often to create a feed of well-polished, beautiful images, Instagram stories is about removing the vintage-speckled facade and offering an authentic snapshot of their world.

Because Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours they give businesses the opportunity to produce an almost constant stream of visual content that doesn’t overwhelm their audience. It’s worth noting, however, that in our experience an extremely over-indulgent Stories feed can be something of a turnoff for an engaged user; while it is unlikely to cause them to completely give up on your brand, it will probably result in that particular story being disregarded.

Regardless of whether you disagree with the innate similarities between it and Snapchat Stories, either through unease at the originality of the concept, or just a general dislike towards the latter, Instagram Stories can and should be used as part of a business’s Instagram Strategy. They enable complete transparency and humanisation of a brand - which in the pristinely groomed world of marketing messages isn’t a possibility to be sniffed at.

Interaction enables Instagram Stories to do more

Unlike Snapchat will still currently displays user’s content in a recently-updated style, Instagram Stories are served-up based on how much a user interacts with a particular account. This means that the success of Instagram Stories will, surprise surprise, directly relate to how engaged your community is.

It’s obvious that at the heart of any social media marketing strategy needs to be the organic development of a committed audience; this needs to be at the forefront of your mind when Stories are employed as part of your Instagram strategy. If you produce content that encourages engagement you increase the likelihood of your Stories being viewed. Stories then help fuel the former - which builds the latter. You are effectively creating a strategy that naturally boosts itself.

Instagram Stories offer insight into interaction and engaged followers

Instagram Stories can offer particularly useful insights into who among your audience is most engaged, and what sort of content they find most interesting. When viewing your own story you can see exactly who has watched each particular snapshot. This gives can offer an enhanced sense of direction for your strategy over a shorter relative period of time to other aspects of your Instagram Strategy.

Big implications for trans-media and user-integrated marketing

Instagram Stories have huge implications for multi-platform marketing strategy, particularly those that utilise a real-world event. Because it is made to be completely authentic and raw it can be used to present behind-the-scenes content, adding depth and another layer of personalisation to your brand marketing. Where real-world events and exterior campaigns are concerned there is potential to foster brand advocacy by utilising exclusive competitions and contests for those who view your stories and then promoting that in person/on other channels.

In our own experience Instagram Stories offers great potential and is still in the majority underused by brands. Take this opportunity to start using it and develop a new personal, human layer to your Instagram strategy.

Google is Creating a Mobile-only Search Index

Google Mobile Search Index

Ask any Webmaster or SEO specialist what have been the most significant advancements in search over the past few years and they are highly likely to count mobile at the top of their list. Now it appears Google is willing to take its focus on optimising services for mobile users to the next level with a search index devoted entirely to mobile results - and make it their primary search index.

According to information published by Search Engine Land, Google is going to create a new mobile search index “within months”. This will help to give mobile users access to more relevant and higher-quality content. It is currently unclear how exactly the new mobile index will work; whether it will only contain results considered “mobile-friendly”, and, as a primary index, whether it will really not be used for desktop queries.

The new index is undoubtedly the culmination of Google’s attempts to push webmasters to prioritise the creation of mobile-friendly sites; already they favour those who do so in their current SERPs, a result of so-called #Mobilegeddon back in April 2015. A mobile-only index would empower the search engine to expand on the quality of their current algorithm, with which it is all-too common for alternate mobile sites of desktop sites to not live up to the expectations created in SERPs.

In relation to how it will affect ranking Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick had this to say:

“The most substantial change will likely be that by having a mobile index, Google can run its ranking algorithm in a different fashion across “pure” mobile content rather than the current system that extracts data from desktop content to determine mobile rankings.”

While a desktop index will continue to be maintained, it will eventually take back seat to the mobile index, becoming less regularly updated. In a statement to the Guardian Google commented “[we] are always experimenting with different approaches to keep search index as relevant and useful as possible, but we don’t have any new developments to announce.”

What Happens When You Ignore Social Media Marketing?

What happens when you ignore social media marketing?

We’re at a point in time now where the mere idea of a business overlooking social media is laughable. The reason is simple - it’s a marketing avenue where even the nichest of audiences can be found, one that facilitates brand awareness and advocacy on a herculean scale whilst also granting access to intuitive and measurable advertising. Without it things look very bleak indeed..

When we talk about social media marketing we can all benefit from recognising that we’re no longer referring to a new concept. Social media is now about what we do not what we could do. This means that businesses who now engage in social media marketing (which should be absolutely all of them to one extent or another) can do so with a complete understanding of what each network can (and can’t) viably achieve, hence the possibilities become achievements and the future becomes the now.

The numbers are still significant and still growing - average daily social media usage among internet users reportedly amounts to 118 minutes this year, up from 109 minutes daily during 2015. The idea of pulling the plug on it needn’t bear thinking about - but just in case you are, here’s what happens when you ignore social media marketing.

Web traffic slows down and your content has very little impact

Because so much of our daily internet usage is taken up by social networking, a significant chunk of discovery for external sites comes from there. Opting to rely wholeheartedly on traffic from your blog and organic clicks from search engines will undoubtedly result in a noticeable slowing down of web traffic.

Social media isn’t about blindly posting your brand in front of random people, it’s about distributing the expert or entertaining content from your website to those who are likely to have use for it. Figures released last year suggested that Facebook now accounts for more traffic to news sites than Google. Content marketing is pretty useless without a clear social media distribution strategy; in order to increase your chances of your content getting noticed, shared and curated by influencers, you need to make sure it is sufficiently published.

If you aren’t noticing a high level of engagement or clicks on your content, it’s likely to do with how it is optimised for that particular network. Not one site is the same, so be aware of what performs well wherever you are posting and ensure your content is suitably tailored to each.

You risk being seen as the friend who never comes out and brand awareness significantly drops

Social media is integral to building awareness of your brand by real people. Social media brings with it something of a label that validates your business among the 24/7 culture of the 21st century. When you aren’t remaining active on there you risk losing that potency.

Remaining active on social media is about positioning your business beside users’ personal life; sooner or later you are likely to be integrated. As those discussions grow, so can your audience. When you are nowhere to be seen, people start to forget about you and instead turn their focus to those that are there; your competitors.

Your industry stops appreciating your voice and you lose customers to competitors

This is particularly significant for those in a B2B industry. Utilising content marketing alongside social media marketing is the perfect way to develop and expert, a professional voice that builds trust and awareness in your brand. When you let that slip often those in your industry begin to forget about you.

On social media your audience expect to be listened to. Regardless of whether they have something positive or negative to say about your brand, they expect a response. By not remaining reactive and retaining your professional online voice your risk alienating customers and losing them to your competitors.

Is Facebook Marketplace a Feature Too Far?

Facebook Marketplace Feature too Far

Facebook’s newest update introduced the world of classified ads to the social network. Reminiscent of Gumtree and Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace gives users immediate access to a local buy and sell board. But with users already abusing it to sell illegal and illicit items, could it be a feature too far for the network?

When Facebook Marketplace was announced at the beginning of this week, it didn’t take long for controversy to come a-knocking. Within a matter of hours, a number of illicit ads had been posted purporting to sell items such as baby Hedgehogs, drugs and guns. Rather unsurprisingly, these items come under a list of prohibited items within Facebook’s Commerce Policy.

While the social networking giant were quick to tell the BBC that the violations were a result of a “technical issue that prevented [the] system from identifying some posts that violated [their] commerce policies and community standards” and has since been (in the most part) resolved, it’s nevertheless launched the listings feature with a sense of unease.

The sheer volume of prohibited and illicit ads that were highlighted at the feature’s launch far outweighed the amount of spam listings that often turn up on Craigslist and Gumtree.

A feature too far?

You’d have to be living with your eyes closed to fail to realise that Facebook is currently trying to become the internet on the internet. Each of their most recent updates have been intended to limit the amount of time that users are required to spend away from the network - from creating an in-app browser to view external content, to enabling businesses to showcase and sell their products and services direct from their pages, all the way down to trying to control how users communicate via messaging and live video.

It’s fairly evident that, to Facebook, Marketplace is another step towards their ultimate vision. But some users are sceptical, taking issue with the fact that this product relies wholeheartedly on content supplied by users. With Marketplace they have effectively created a feature that does not feel at all defined by the network and actually feels slightly like a departure to an external product altogether.

For users it feels like Facebook is in a transitional phase as social network. A transition from being defined by its features, to being defined by each specific user’s preference of a bucketful of different features, all of which nobody uses and of which you’d have to be an expert to know quite how many actually existed.

One thing is for sure, there is a lot going on at Facebook at the moment - sooner or later, users are going to get annoyed.

Instagram Adds “Save Draft” Feature

Instagram Adds Save Draft Feature

This week Instagram unveiled yet another feature intended to both improve the core components of the social network and enhance accessibility for users. The photo-based social networking app now allows users to save a draft of their photo edits so that they can return to them later…

Very recently Instagram rolled out an update that gives users the ability to pinch to zoom in on photos. This update was announced on the official Instagram account, alongside the statement “as things change, we’re still focused on improving the core parts of Instagram.” It seems as though the new “save draft” feature is one of these cited improvements.

Users now have the ability to save a pre-edited draft of one of their posts that they can return to later. While not the most momentous of updates, “save draft” means that we no longer have the stress of getting to the end of a perfect edit before discovering that we have to either exit the app or rush off before we have had the chance to draft the perfect caption and post. First world problems? Perhaps, but a useful feature nonetheless, and one that looks to make the network more user friendly and limit instances of annoyance.

The social network first began testing the feature back in July, but is only now making it official. Once they have started editing an image and drafting their caption, users can press the return button and will prompted to either discard their post or save a draft. If the latter option is chosen, the saved image can be accessed by tapping the Camera button and then hitting “library”.

Although it is a very simple process, there are full details of how the feature works available on the Instagram Help Centre.

Giraffe Welcome Sheleena to the Team

Sheleena Cameron Giraffe Social Media Manager

The one thing that really defines Giraffe Social Media are the people who we have working here! We appreciate how each person’s individualities and unique skills can make our office a far more vibrant place to work and help to develop our constantly evolving service - and whenever somebody new joins us, we get rather giddy...

This week we are incredibly excited to be able to introduce to you a brand new member of the Giraffe family, Sheleena Cameron! Sheleena recently graduated from the University of Essex where she studied English Language and Literature. We stole her for a few moments to see what makes her tick...

Welcome Sheleena!

Thank you!

Describe yourself in three words, one adjective, one verb and one noun.

Sheleena is fun.

Clever. Obviously you studied English at University - did you enjoy it, did you do anything fun, join any societies etc…

I did enjoy! I didn’t really like the language bit at the end of it but I enjoyed it all the same! The only thing I joined was the Cheerleading team - a very successful team I might add. Other than that I worked at Starbucks at the SU which was fun.

What made you study English Language and Literature?

Nothing much apart from the fact that I’m good at English and I like reading.

Fair enough! So what drove you to apply to work with Giraffe?

I can’t remember, it was a while ago - I think it was June! I was looking for jobs that I knew I could actually do, and when I saw the Giraffe job description the main thing I noticed was the company values, which I knew I could really get on board with. So I was like, “this sounds like fun, let’s try here!”

What are you most looking forward to about working here?

Getting good at table tennis, and also the bake offs - I love baking! Although the standard here has been ridiculously high so I’m going to have to practice.

What's the weirdest thing about the Giraffe team that you’ve noticed since starting here?

Nothing much, at first I found it odd that everybody was bare foot but then I thought, “why not?!”

What was the last picture you took on your phone?

Oh I was on holiday. It was a selfie on the bus that takes you from the terminal to the plane, we were a little delayed because there was too much in the hand luggage...

What actor would play your fictional nemesis?

Oh… I just don’t know! Somebody ridiculously dramatic like Andy Samberg. Just because you’d want to laugh, and I’d imagine my story to be a bit of a comedy. Something like Scott Pilgrim Vs the World… Except not as long… That film is LONG.

What’s the weirdest dream you can remember?

My Nan died (she’s not really dead, I’m pretty sure she’s going to outlive me), and for some reason the amount of money we had inherited was written on ketchup sachets...

If you could have a pet anything what would it be?

Hmm… Well I’d want something practical… potentially a Hippogriff because that would be pretty cool and certainly help me save money on airfare!

Do you ever doubt the existence of others?

Wow, that’s quite existential… No?... I think?...

What question do you hate having to answer?

Where are you from, drives me insane!

Have you ever collected those stickers you get on fruits?

Pretty sure I must have as a child! You know, you get a banana, take the sticker off, stick it on your lunchbox, standard.

Any dietary requirements we should be aware of?

I am allergic to a random additive, but I don’t know what it is yet. So I could eat something and potentially my throat could close, but we don’t know what that is… it adds something of sense of adventure to mealtimes.

Wow. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on that. What's your favourite abstract noun?

I don’t know! Could be dream? You could say I’m a dreamer… But I’m not the only one.

What superpower do you wish you had?

Oh, apparition, 100 percent! You’d just have to leave a second before you had to get somewhere, I’d get so much more sleep. Or the ability to find anything immediately without fail...

Lastly, what is love?

Baby, don’t hurt me.

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