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

Meet the Team: Rachel Williams

Meet the Giraffe Team - Rachel Williams

At Giraffe Social Media, we take vast amounts of pride in the diverse talents and individualities of our team. The world of social media is incredibly fast moving, and so evolution is one of our key values - so we often collaborate and draw upon each other’s unique skills and experiences.

We’d love for you to meet some of us - up today; social media manager, Rachel Williams…

Hello Rachel! Tell us about yourself and what you do here at Giraffe?

Hello there! I am a social media manager with Giraffe. My role involves creating interesting and engaging posts for a diverse range of clients, from interior designers to cosmetic surgery clinics, in order to meet their individual goals.

Have you worked here long?

I’ve worked here about seven months now, but I feel like I’ve been here ages!

What do you love most about working as part of the Giraffe team?

It’s a really interesting team of people to work with! My job allows me to be creative on a day to day basis, which is something which I absolutely love. And there always seems to be cake, although I tend to be the one baking it…

If you could give one tip to someone looking to boost their digital presence, what would it be?

The whole point of social media is to be social- it’s in the name! So ensure that you speak with your audience and make them feel appreciated and listened to.

Now on to the important questions; if you were a superhero, what would your name and power be?

Ahh! Okay, I know what my power would be - I would have the ablility to see someone do something and immediately be able to do it myself. So I could watch The Avengers once and then nail all the fight sequences! My name though… possibly Super Rae? Or Raegun. Yeah, we’ll go with Raegun.

Do you have any secret aspirations that you wish to make un-secret?

It would be brilliant to write a bestselling novel. Like a modern Jane Eyre with punk bands and less women detained in attics.

What’s your favourite piece of fiction?

Just one!? I don’t know if I can do one - you can have my top five...The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (the same person who wrote 101 Dalmatians), and The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. I like big books and I cannot lie.

Werewolves or Vampires?

Vampires every time. Better outfits. And, if I’m honest, I never really left my teen goth phase.

What’s your favourite word to pronounce and why?

That would be tenebrous, which is a very fancy way of saying gloomy - going back to that teen goth thing! I like it because it flows. I also like oxymoron - because I think it’s funnier than the actual meaning of the word.

What’s your favourite favourite?

Wow, that’s hard! I think maybe exploring new places? Or maybe the search for the perfect burger - which is ongoing.

And finally, how do you like your eggs in the morning?

Poached with advocado on toast, or boiled with soldiers; you’re never too old for soldiers.

Marketers leave Twitter in favour of other ad platforms

Twitter stocks fall as marketers move budgets to other ad platforms

Twitter shares dramatically dropped by 16.3 percent on Wednesday, bringing their total drop so far this year to 36 percent. Analysts have warned that the network could face losing a significant chunk of their advertising revenue by marketers to rival social networks.

Following an announcement by Twitter that marketers had failed to increase their advertising spend at their estimated rate, shares in the social network have seen yet another drop.

A variety of other factors have contributed to causing stock to plummet close to the lowest yet, including an incredibly slow rate of user growth. It has also been evident to social media practitioners that many of their most recent updates have seemed strained, in some cases even going against the social network’s original principles in order to compete with other social networks. Now investors most primary concern is surrounding the sales of adverts by marketers.

Enough inventory - not enough demand

According to the social network’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto, previous attempts to build new advertising products had been far more successful, but lately marketers had instead transferred their spend to other platforms. In a discussion with the Financial Times he explained that they had enough inventory to satisfy demand, but not enough demand.

As the capabilities of social networks continue to evolve, marketers have been left with an extensive variety of advertising options. It’s therefore unsurprising that many will be shifting their budgets around in an attempt to compete in reaching the potentially lucrative millennial audience.

Twitter Video Ads

Twitter have said that they are aiming to increase ad spend on video, thanks to the rollout of auto play - and indeed there has been significant interest in these new video ads by some potentially high-profile customers. Both video content and live video could play an integral role if the social network hopes to ever get back to where they were.

As TV viewership declines, agencies and advertisers are always on the lookout for premium video opportunities. Having recently won a deal to stream NFL games, this could be an avenue that potentially brings in a lot of revenue. However, video and live streaming is cropping up all over the Internet, and the truth is that to succeed - Twitter have their work cut out.

Twitter steps up to halt harassment

Twitter allows users to report multiple abusive tweets

Twitter have taken a decisive step towards addressing concerns surrounding harassment on the platform by adding a new tool that will allow users to report multiple cases of abuse en masse. The social network believe that the changes will help give context surrounding the extent of a case of abuse and, as such, reduce the amount of time it takes for action to be taken.

On Monday 25th April, Twitter announced via their blog that they had begun enacting new measures to crack down on harassment and behaviour that goes against their rules. From now on users will be able to submit multiple tweets as evidence of abusive behaviour in order to support their case and encourage sufficient, timely action. Until now users had been required to report instances of harassment on a tweet-by-tweet basis that lacked any sort of context for the network’s security team.

The network has come under criticism in the past for the duration of time it has taken to sufficiently respond to users requests for intervention in cases of abuse. A significant example of this is the case of Scaachi Koul, editor and write for BuzzGeed Canada, who was forced to close her account after being faced with a barrage of harassment and abuse including death threats, leading her to deduce that the network remained “broken for women”.

The new update hopes to tackle this by giving better context on a case-by-case basis. Twitter have also suggested that this is just the beginning of a selection of new improvements designed to give users greater control over their experiences. Safety engineer Hao Tang said this:

            “Safety continues to be a top priority at Twitter. We have more improvements coming that will give you even more control over your experience and look forward to sharing those updates soon… We’re beginning to roll out this change on iOS, Android, and on twitter.com, and expect all users worldwide to get access to the feature in the coming weeks.”

It will be interesting to see how sufficient new initiatives by Twitter are in tackling cases of abuse. Clearly this is yet another attempt to limit users leaving the network. At the end of last year it became clearly evident that Twitter’s growth was halting; when the company reported its Q4 earnings in February stock had dropped around 12 percent, due to its dwindling user base.

Regardless of whether or not it will be successful in addressing the issue of users leaving because of abuse, it is undoubtedly a very important update in the more widespread fight to stop harassment across social media.

Facebook Algorithm Update Champions Quality Content

Facebook algorithm update champions quality content

There has been yet another algorithm update by the world’s most popular social network.  This update looks to improve the quality of articles and news content turning up on user's news feeds. Facebook are endeavouring to crack down on misleading clickbait articles and instead offer people things that they consider worthy of a reader’s time…

According to a post on the Facebook newsroom, the social networking site explained that they constantly use the wealth of data provided by user ratings in order to provide users with the most relevant stories on the top of their news feeds. They also announced that to continue this constant improvement, past work has included updating ranking on the news feed to take into account bounce rate and the amount of time that users spent reading a post after opening it. Software engineer Moshe Blank and research scientist Jie Xu had this to say on the matter;

            “Building on this work, we’re learning that the time people choose to spend reading or watching content they clicked on from News Feed is an important signal that the story was interesting to them… with this change, we can better understand which articles might be interesting to you based on how long you and others read them, so you’ll be more likely to see stories you’re interesting in reading.”

Facebook recently made changes that have allowed them to take the quality of external content into account, such as the new browser within the mobile app. These have allowed them to draw on a wealth of data and begin to consider the quality of content in order to improve user experience.

Facebook updates move towards limiting time off-site

The new algorithm change is yet another in an ever-increasing list of changes intended to limit the amount of time users spend off of the network. These have included cracking down on clickbait and giving more power to pages. If successful, the update will help engage users with multiple examples of relevant content and limit instances of them needing to undertake external search.

How will this effect pages?

Facebook have commented saying that the roll out of the new update shouldn’t have much of a significant effect on pages that already focus on quality content over clickbait and follow the network’s publishing best practices. However, depending on industry and the manner of each piece of content, pages could begin to see a slight increase (or decrease) in referral traffic. Here’s hoping it’s the former!

How to do Social Media for Artists and Galleries

How to do social media for artists and art galleries

Active participation by brands and small businesses on social media can result in significant audience growth. For industries where the majority of professionals are independent, such as the art world, the lack of a dedicated digital marketing department can leave some feeling jaded at the thought. However, if these people are consistent with their personal efforts, social media could prove particularly lucrative in marketing themselves to relevant audiences…

The difficulty in marketing through social media for artists, particularly for those who have drawn blanks with it in the past, is maintaining the motivation for consistency. Many efforts fail due to a lack of awareness surrounding the importance of targeted content that is regularly posted and constantly monitored. This has been particularly prominent in the past - we’ve all witnessed sporadically updated pages with scattered content, whether we were merely a passer-by or the perpetrator ourselves.

A note on consistency

In order to begin to see any kind of ROI from social media, the social requires disciplined consistency. For creative professionals who are naturally prone to fits of creativity rather than structured planning, this can seem demanding and often results in questioning whether or not it’s really worth it. But the great thing about marketing through social media is that the hardest part is the strategy. In other words, once you have devised how you are going to meet your goals, you’re already the majority of the way towards achieving them.

If you decide to spend time considering that strategy instead of posting sporadic content on your social channels, you’ll soon realise that not only will these networks become more lucrative but also less work for you on a day-to-day basis.

Social media for artists and galleries

Social media can be the perfect tool for marketing for art professionals as visual content already receives more recognition by users than any other style of content. Not only that, creative networks allow artists a platform on which they can utilise their natural creativity to build awareness of their brand, grow their audience, and market featuring exhibitions.

Human activity breeds value

The most significant tip towards achieving this is being active. Social media is, by its very nature, a social platform. Artists have an edge as they already use their work to express something within themselves and social media users value transparency and authenticity. By focusing on actively engaging with their audience by sharing relevant and associated content that offers value, while not losing sight of their personality, artists stand the best chance of steadily building an engaged audience.

A small engaged audience is of far more value than a massive, uninterested following, especially to niche businesses. These people will play a crucial part in influencing their friends and peers and could eventually become an advocate for an artist's works.

Establish your personal branding and keep it crisp and consistent

While galleries are already required to have unique branding in order to succeed, it’s not always the same case where artists are concerned. While some time could have been spent in developing a signature or logo, much of an artist's branding stems from the art itself. In order to remain instantly recognisable, artists’ pages need to have a consistent branding that compliments seasonal art features.

Keep all of your content related and stop promoting

In order to offer value to an audience and ensure you don’t lose followers through indifference, you need to ensure that your content remains completely relatable and interesting. Self-promotion is a huge red flag waving over social networking. Everything that you post should contribute to building an active dialogue with your audience.

Be responsive to comments, especially provocation

It all goes back to social media being innately social. As you update your audience on new commissions and pieces, they will naturally have questions about stimulus and interpretation. Your responses to these questions will be crucial to building that dialogue.

When it comes to provocation, don’t allow yourself to be incensed in your responses. An engaged audience will have respect for brands who respond directly to ignorantly provocative and negative comments with an educated humility. It’s the perfect way to show off authenticity as it will allow you to seem completely human.

Allow your content to speak for itself

This article hasn’t focused at all on content strategy. The reason for this is that within creative industries, authenticity is of the most importance. Spend time devising a content strategy that speaks for your brand and tells an original story. Be provocative and you are sure to see a response.

Social media is a crucial network building tool that transcends gaps between communities - as a member of an industry that relies on the engagement of a niche and exclusive audience, it should undoubtedly be put to good use.

Students Favour Snapchat over Twitter

Social Networks that Students are Using

Students across the UK are turning towards Snapchat over other social networks to communicate with their peers. In the past Facebook and Twitter have proven essential platforms for marketing to Students and now, as a majority of users begin to access from mobile devices, apps such as Snapchat could prove just as lucrative.

Whenever a new mobile app-based social network gains traction, it’s usually down to Millennials. Students take to social networking as a crucial method of communication and information sharing. As a generation of influencers, whenever they discover modern apps that serve their purposes in an original way, popularity follows as a result.

While not so much “new” per se, Snapchat does have something of an edge over larger networks that have become increasingly mainstream. Facebook and Twitter has grown in usage among older generations and, let’s face it, these were the people that as teenagers Millennials originally turned to social media to avoid.

The reason that Snapchat has become such a successful network is that it, in a sense, emulates everyday student behaviour. Conversations between friends on campus are often passing and momentary, yet energised.

Universities Cotton on to New Marketing Avenues

Many Universities have begun to appreciate the importance of these new networks in reaching out to Students. According to Times Higher Education, despite some initial concerns about utilising what was initially considered the ‘Sexting App’, the University of Loughborough has begun to use Snapchat to compliment recruitment. According to their Director of Marketing and Advancement Emma Leech, the platform proved useful in addressing queries in a timely manner during the admissions window. Similarly, Senior Digital Communications Officer at the University of Central Lancashire Alistair Beech believes that both Snapchat and other networks such as WhatsApp and Yik Yak “can be essential for students adjusting to a new community and environment.”

Marketing to Younger People and Students

Understandably, these tools could occupy an increasingly lucrative position within the digital marketplace where students and younger people are concerned. Millennials subconsciously consider the authenticity of a brand through Social Networking. They are simultaneously less likely to be swayed by social advertising and more likely to become an advocate of a brand that they consider authentic than other generations. This means that an element of meeting them where they are is integral in marketing efforts; a business’s presence on these networks could prove to be the boost to brand awareness among their target audience that they need.

Facebook Live gets Serious

How to use Facebook Live

Facebook Live, the live streaming service attached to the world’s largest social networking site, recently received a huge overhaul in attention after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that users would soon be able to stream from any device.

The social network is often at the forefront of industry defining developments and there is nothing surprising about them muscling into live streaming territory. With network accessibility becoming easier and new devices facilitating it, live streaming has quickly come into prominence as a social media feature. Although it has been around in one capacity or another for a number of years now, new technology means that it no longer suffers from the restraints of its tethered predecessors. This has in turn given off the illusion that we are stepping further into the era of the instant, when in reality we were already there.

Using Facebook Live

Facebook’s recent F8 developers conference went some way to boosting Facebook Live. The service is currently primarily used by celebrities and big media companies, but this is likely to quickly expand to other users due to the social network’s new focus on it. Live streaming on Facebook Live is simple and works by choosing the streaming symbol and entering a description, the same principle as posting on a mobile app. Currently, live streaming can only last for 30 minutes at a time for normal users. The social network has provided some tips for live streaming best practice here.

A new feature that Facebook Live does have going for it is the ability to filter broadcasts to only be visible to members of certain groups or events. This gives an element of exclusivity and could be a great marketing tool for events or as a tool for collaboration.

Popular Live-Streaming Apps

Facebook’s new focus on live streaming could prove damaging to live streaming apps like Periscope which have proven more and more popular over the past year or so. While Facebook Live could prove useful in promoting awareness of live streaming technology and providing it to a larger audience through their huge global reach, it would be disappointing to see Periscope’s user base drop as a result.

As live streaming becomes more and more popular it is also changing the face of social media. To find out more, check out our past article - Is the Future of Social Media in Live Streaming?

Social Media Content Distribution for B2B and B2C

Content Distribution on Social Media

Regardless of how it continues to be perceived by marketers, content still holds a prominent position within the dark arts of digital. However, with constant shake-ups in algorithms, content marketers have had to get better and better at creating quality, lengthy and trusted copy that warrants sharing.

Content is often looked at with a hint of trepidation, and for good reason. There is no other marketing avenue that is so vital yet so unpredictable. It’s also something that requires a considerable amount of attention and investment of time - something that most people who set out to do it simply don’t have. This is down to the fact that quality content offers value to the consumer. For a lengthy piece of web copy to be able to do that it needs to represent an expert take on your industry, an insider view for which a reader’s time invested in reading is justified. Often the person who can lend that viewpoint is the person whose time is most precious: a head strategist or even an MD, for example. Couple that with the little issue of frequency, (content marketing isn’t a one-off, it needs to be repeatedly invested in and revisited) and you’ve got yourself a positively vexing package.

No matter how much you might want to, we’re afraid that if you want to get noticed in the digital era, you cannot overlook content. If you don’t have the time invest in writing or are aware that your abilities aren’t up to scratch, check out the options provided by our content marketing department.

Getting your Expert Voice Heard

There’s no use in investing in quality content if you don’t constantly strive to reach your audience. Social Media is great as it provides the perfect platform for content distribution. By utilising your network to promote further sharing and distribution you can create a dialogue about your industry that your content, your copy and (most importantly) your brand is the centre of.

Content Distribution on Social Networks

Without a thorough proportion of strategy devoted to distribution, content marketing is destined to fail. However, every industry’s audience is as different as every industry, and choosing the most appropriate network for purposed distribution is an exact science. Depending on whether your business is B2B or B2C, your content will lend itself better to engagement on a particular network.

New data provided by research from Hubspot & Buzzsumo has given us as marketers a far greater insight into where and how an audience is more susceptive, and helped to indicate which channels, post length and headlines will maximise engagement for each different industry.

Distribution of B2B Content

The data acknowledges that B2B requires rational, expert and lengthy content due to the nature of industry procurement. This should offer value and be of benefit to the reader. Unsurprisingly, it lends itself to the professional network LinkedIn, with an average post receiving 25.7 shares compared to a mere 9.8 for it’s B2C counterpart. However, Facebook cannot and should not be overlooked for B2B Content Marketers. While often shares do not live up to that of B2C, the data suggests that Facebook had surpassed Google in driving traffic to all websites, and a quarter of all traffic across the web.

As far as headlines are concerned, the study concluded that B2B marketers should be willing to think outside the box and sway away from producing stock-style titles like lists or dos and don’ts. While these can provide value, a B2B audience is likely to read the content and so you will benefit from offering something fresh and different that stands out from the crowd.

Distribution of B2C Content

On the other end of the spectrum, B2C content should be aspirational, emotional and primarily entertaining. Facebook is the winner for distribution of this style of content, with the average post gaining 85.58 shares. B2C content should be crafted with Facebook distribution in mind as a considerable proportion of your referrals will come direct from there if done correctly. Another network that was successful for B2C but comparatively bad for B2B is Pinterest. B2C content receives an average of 4.97 shares through the network.

B2C content style should always remain primarily entertaining in order to get results from distribution, and titles should be clearly purposed to develop intrigue. One of the most popular title phrasings, according to this data, is “make you laugh”, “# pictures that” and “# signs you’re”.

Whether B2C or B2B, your content marketing strategy will seriously benefit from a careful and considered approach to distribution down social networks. Invest in it, and you will see the results.

Social Media and the changing face of Customer Service

How social media is changing customer service

Over the past few years, social media has single handedly turned the customer experience on its head. The digital world has completely changed expectations surrounding rates of engagement by brands and businesses, and in order to succeed they need to recognise and accommodate the changing needs of their customers...

Because of social media, customers have rapidly crossed over from passive to actively engaged consumers. Social networking is now a one-stop shop that allows users to discover and engage with new brands, products and businesses. A brand’s page is the first place that a consumer will go to whenever they have something to say about a product or service, be that positive or negative.

The accessibility of brands on social media can only be seen as a positive for users and brands alike as it shows no sign of slowing or changing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present some potentially difficult issues.

Social media dialogues are completely open

By its very nature social media is a completely open and accessible platform. Customers are able to direct their praises or concerns via a private message to the business concerned; however in most cases this is un-favoured. Most users favour posting openly so that their, and indeed the business’s, network can see what they have to say. This means that any and all testimonies can be seen and analysed by both current and potential new customers.

Although social media sites, particularly Twitter and Facebook, have primarily become prominent digital marketing and advertising avenues for businesses, they are also incredibly important for customer service. The reality is that as social media usage grows, so to does users’ demand for customer care via these channels. In order to meet this demand brands need to be active in providing adequate and progressive responses to their customer’s concerns.

Businesses need to be available with open ears

In order to meet this new demand for customer service, businesses need to identify and analyse where their customers are. They then need to be as accessible as possible on those networks and efficiently respond to queries. Negative reviews and complaints that are left unanswered can seriously harm a credible brand’s reputation among their network. Businesses are becoming aware that social media, as a platform that facilitates campaigning, has the ability to take one user’s issue and uncover similar instances from others. In that sense, complaints on social media can escalate astronomically at an astonishing rate.

Social media calls for more investment in customer service; and that isn’t a bad thing

For bigger companies, the challenge can be sifting through a high rate of queries on their social channel and prioritising those that require immediate responses. As a general rule, negative mentions need to be prioritised and dealt with in a timely matter. Doing so not only helps a business, it can also have a positive impact on how a brand is viewed by its network. Brands need to be human and provide value on social media, and those that openly show that they care for their customers are often the most successful.

Snapchat Emojis Get Clingy in New Update

Snapchat update with moving emojis

A recently released update by Snapchat included new 3D emojis that move alongside features in video messages. Snapchat is one of the most popular social networks for teens and younger people, and new features are often added in a bid to entice new users away from the likes of Facebook and Twitter…

Snapchat’s developers have focussed their efforts in to developing technology that is able to detect, analyse and track the movement of objects within a video. As a result they have been able to add the new “clingy” emojis as a defining feature in their latest update. The social network only recently released a feature-packed update in a bid to offer their users more options over surrounding ways to communicate.

The Social Network of choice for Teens

Snapchat are clearly aware of their user base. In a recent survey of US Teens it came out on top as the most popular network, overtaking previously favoured Instagram. It has been clear from these studies that younger people prefer visually focussed social networks to the text-based media evident in Twitter and Facebook. Snapchat’s update is a perfect example of a network having a strong understanding of why their core demographic chooses their network over others. The platform is constantly evolving and adding new features that add to the entertainment aspect in order to appeal to them.

Other additions to Chat

Snapchat have also introduced Chat 2.0 in order to improve the one-on-one user messaging experience. Updates include 10-second video notes that loop, similar to those available on Vine and Instagram, Audio notes and Video Calls - which is clearly an attempt to muscle in on the realms of Whatsapp and Messenger. Other changes include the ability to send multiple photos and 200 stickers available for private chats.

What can we learn from the update

Snapchat continue to show us that in order to compete in the ever-evolving world of social media, networks cannot afford to lose sight of their primary identity. While social networks like Twitter begin to show evidence of straining their original objective in a bid to grow, Snapchat are fully aware of their user base and instead make attempts to grow with it.

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