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New Pinterest Team Looks Set to Monetise Content

Pinterest Acquire Team Behind Tote

Pinterest have announced that they are acquiring the team behind an influencer­-driven shopping app called Tote. The announcement suggests that the social network are serious about rethinking how they monetise the wealth of creative content shared across the platform.

The new hires created the Tote app which works by highlighting and suggesting products shared by fashion influencers and friends ­- so it’s clear that the team will be playing an integral role in developing monetisation strategy. Indeed, the team will be joining Pinterest’s growth and monetisation team. As a result of the acqui-hire, Tote itself will be shut down on the 15th June.

The reason for the hire

This isn’t the only significant hire that Pinterest have made recently, having also acquired the people behind Fleksy, a custom keyboard app. These hires are going to play a critical role in attracting users to the network, something that has become increasingly important in recent years. Directing influencers to the service will prove pivotal for the network, as will streamlining the full user experience; from discovery to engagement and, most importantly, conversion.#

In order to improve that customer revolution calls for increased engagement at every stage along the way. As a social network, Pinterest is involved throughout every point in the consumer experience, and so the future could hold great potential for them, but only with a willingness to invest. Therefore new talent that can crack each of these areas takes top priority.

It seems the network are serious about developing their capabilities and becoming a real contender in the social media marketplace. It’s now evident that they are more than willing to invest money into making new hires and become a real player in social e-­commerce.

The Tote team’s potential influence

As the Tote team have been focusing on encouraging purchases through the influencer model and using trendsetters as a key part in their business strategy, it is clear their influence could be nothing short of inspirational for the network. Pinterest need to harness what their community have given them in order to successfully monetise their network with long­term projected growth in mind, and those guys could help them achieve that.

How to do Social Media for Indie Game Developers

Social Media for Indie Game Developers

The game development scene has never been more accessible or inclusive. The tools needed to start learning the basics of dev are now available to pretty much anyone. Resources like Twine, GameMaker, or even Unity are just a few clicks away – often costing as little as zero pence.

The result of this has been a buzzing indie scene, with one or two person studios springing up to make and share their creations with potentially huge audiences around the world. With even the main players in the console race making overtures to the indie scene, we’re seeing more and more critical and commercial success stories from small studios. Sam Barlow’s Her Story scooped up a hat-trick of BAFTAs this year (Debut Game, Game Innovation, and Mobile & Handheld), while Psyonix’s Rocket League is possibly the most inspiring story to date, with the game achieving phenomenal success after a free giveaway on PlayStation Plus in 2015.

One of the results of this new found hysteria is a creatively exciting development landscape. However, due to it's popularity, things can sometimes feel a little crowded. Where release schedules used to boast a couple of titles per week, the list can swell to enormous proportions these days.

So how is an indie developer supposed to get themselves out there in this climate? Let’s explore the ways that social media can be used for communications.

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

The focus in the early days should be on building your community. As such, it can be hard to maintain too many channels at a time – certainly with a small team on hand. With Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Steam forums, your own website (perhaps with its own forum) and more to monitor, your time can easily become taken up by checking in on these instead of actually developing your product.

In the early days, consider launching with just a channel or two, making it clear that these are the places your community can check in with you. Twitter and Facebook are ideal platforms on which to get started, building your audience before launching a million and one social channels.

Remember, You Are Not Ubisoft

Tone of voice is so, so important. As a small team, it’s important to relate to your community in the most appropriate fashion. You’re not a corporate giant like Ubisoft or Activision (just yet!) so be sure to engage with and speak to your followers. Never be shy about discussing elements of your game that you’re particularly excited about. But at the same time don’t feel pressured into divulging anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

A good piece of advice for smaller devs would be to remain friendly and approachable, while maintaining some kind of professional distance. Don’t go promising people the world. You may feel confident that you’re going to create a sprawling open­-world experience to rival The Witcher 3, and that ambition is great – encouraged, even – but keep it in the meeting room until you have something tangible to share. Few things shake faith like broken promises, so instead always focus on over-­delivering, rather than under­-promising.

Twitter

Twitter has massive potential as a customer support tool thanks to the instantaneous and concise nature of its communications. It’s also probably the place to garner followers the quickest. Twitter will be a great source for quick-­response tech queries, as well as an immediate tool with which to redirect more complex issues. This is invaluable, particularly in the early access market.

Facebook

Facebook is where you can get very visual, sharing sneak peeks, having more in­depth discussions with players, and organising events both in-­game and out. The audience will likely be highly engaged, so don’t be shy about giving them a call to action – ask questions, encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences, and be sure to foster that sense of community that is so important in the games industry.

There is no need to go for the hard sell – once again, you are not a AAA studio, so there’s no need to act like one. Instead, look to foster an environment where sales and shares will happen organically. Goodwill is extremely important in this rodeo.

YouTube/Twitch

Video​ is absolutely vital to any smaller player in the games world. The success of Markus ‘Notch’ Persson with Minecraft, the baffling but brilliant Goat Simulator, and the meteoric rise of eSports all have roots in Youtube or Twitch. While the very best results will come when a massive influencer notices and shares your game on their own channel, there’s real value in maintaining an official outlet.

YouTube will let you show off new assets, trailers, and dev logs in a controlled environment, while running an official Twitch channel can open so many doors. Streaming your own game brings the attention of more streamers -­ all you need is the next Pewdiepie to be on the hunt for a game to take them to the next level, and it’s game on. Of course, the under­promising rule still applies, but the bottom line is – don’t be shy, get yourselves out there!

Steam

If you’re on PC, then you’re going to want to be on Steam. It’s the largest game distribution platform in the world, and includes built-­in tools which are designed to directly communicate with the hordes of players out there just waiting to check out what you’ve been crafting at your desk for the last year. However, there is a vital code of conduct to be adhered to here. Steam forums can be notoriously vicious, so the temptation will always be there to dive in and defend your creative decisions, but be wary.

Always weigh up the PR implications of getting into a fight online against the scoring of a few points against a disappointed gamer. Efforts should be focused on using the suite of tools the platform provides, such as announcements and events. If a hundred potential players are following you prior to release, only to see a pop-­up announcing a live stream of some new, unannounced content in the next few hours, then you’ve got an exciting event on your hands. Explore Steam to its full potential, but follow the two golden rules – No spam, and absolutely no fighting.

Of course, these are just a few of the benefits that social media can have for a new game developer just starting out. We’ll spare you the dissertation for now, but needless to say there is such a huge depth of potential out there in the social media space.

By Sam Faulkner, social media manager

Instagram Begins Adding In-app Translation

Instagram adds in-app translation

Earlier this month Instagram announced that the network now boasts over 500 million users, of which an astounding 300 million are active daily users. The photo­-sharing network are aware that with a global user base of that scale, the accessibility of content is key to continual growth, and are responding by installing a translation tool to allow users to better understand each other.

It’s becoming clear that Instagram are well aware of the important position that their network has begun to take in the world of social media, and are consistently responding with features which cement that status. The network have announced that an auto­-translation tool for comments and descriptions will be added in the coming month.

Users will be able to create an auto­-generated translation by clicking a ‘see translation’ link below text. This translation will be machine­-generated to a user’s chosen language, which can be changed in the user’s in-app settings. However, Instagram have advised users that certain older comments, and languages that aren’t detectable may not be supported.

Translation capabilities are nothing new for larger networks. Twitter and Facebook both offer auto­-translation to some extent, in order to allow users to keep pace with users across the globe. When you consider their recent milestone, it’s about time Instagram brought their communicative capabilities in line with rival networks

When the feature hits network-­wide in July, it will represent a significant shift for Instagram. Previously, while users were able to engage with a foreign user’s content, they were unable to interact with them if they didn’t share knowledge of a singular language, and so growth was halted. Now users will be able to see exactly what these people think of their craft hotdog picture, and respond in kind! This kind of accessibility is integral to building social network user-­bases at a global scale.

Top Free Social Media Analytics Tools

Top Free Social Media Analytics Tools

One of the biggest challenges where marketers are concerned, surrounds continually redistributing your attention across the most effective social networks. A successful social media strategy is one which is constantly shifting its focus to chase the most lucrative platforms and strategic aspects. But with an incredibly fast­-paced market, saturated with different options, changes have to be data-­driven to stand any chance of working…

That’s where the importance of analytics comes in. Social media analytics is undoubtedly a must for marketers who are serious about achieving their business goals. Without access to suitable data, we stand little chance of analysing how social media fits into your overall business model.

There have been a fair few unsubstantiated claims in the past about it being impossible to track ROI through social media. This simply isn’t true. What is true, however, is that measuring it can be more of a challenge than it is in more traditional marketing avenues. The clout of key performance indicators like referrals, click-through rates and engagement (such as replies, comments and shares) need to be considered, as these will become your primary basis for measurement ­ and good analytical tools are integral access points to this information.

For social media marketers whose budget doesn't allow for the advanced capabilities of premium services, here are some of the most useful social media analytics tools that offer free plans.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics needs to be the mainstay of any digital marketing strategy. Including it here might seem a little obvious, but the truth is that far too many businesses aren’t accurately measuring referrals to their website from social media. If you don’t take the time to ensure that your social media is correctly linked to your Analytics account, you really are shooting yourself in the foot. Google Analytics can give you essential insights into how visitors from social networks behave and, most importantly, if they are converting.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a vastly popular social media management dashboard. Favoured primarily for its post scheduling and content aggregation capabilities, Hootsuite users also have access to a number of social media and performance metrics, ranging from engagement and reach rates, through to the average resolution time for customer service cases.

Klear

Klear offers free tools alongside their paid premium offerings. These include social media analytics tools for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, alongside a number of Influencer discovery tools, offering great insights through a number of determiners including location and skill type. These influencer identification tools are held in very high regard, and their analytical tools are presented in a clear, concise and easily understandable format.

Buffer

Buffer is a cross­-network post scheduling and analysis platform. The free plan only gives you access to the major engagement statistics for your posts, however, these can be a good indicator of which types of content perform best when analysed alongside other posts.

FollowerWonk

FollowerWonk is a Moz app which provides an in-­depth look into your Twitter analytics, allowing you to explore and grow your following in the most influential areas. It offers user data such as location and key activity timings, and is often heralded as the perfect platform to identify, track and connect with developing influencers.

Use a free social media analytical tool that we haven’t mentioned here? We want to know! Tweet us ­- @GiraffeSM.

Giraffe Welcome Sam to the Team

 

Sam Faulkner Giraffe Social Media Manager

The people who make up Giraffe Social Media are by no means just cogs in a big corporate machine. Our team members’ individualities are each essential components to what we do here ­- and this week we welcomed a brand new load of them in the form of our newest social media manager Sam!

Following a really competitive round of recruitment we are incredibly excited to be able to welcome Sam Faulkner as the newest member of the Giraffe family! Sam has extensive experience working in video games marketing and journalism, and joined us as a social media manager on the 20th July. We’re really looking forward to seeing him lend his unique knowledge and natural creativity to achieving our clients’ goals.

We often proudly rant about the individualities of our team being integral to making our service so successful! So we set aside a little time to meet him, learn about his passions and what makes him tick -­ in true Giraffe fashion…

Hello there Sam!

Hey, how’s it going?!

What most drew you to applying to become part of the team?

When I first moved to Portsmouth I started looking for companies that specifically fit my own ideas and attitude towards working, and also that had a personality that I could get on board with. So I went on Giraffe’s website and although it sounds really corny I immediately thought “Yeah, I want to work there!” In hindsight, that was back in January and it’s now June, so I kind of played the long game there!

What are you most looking forward to about working here?

I’m really looking forward to being able to work with a variety of different clients. I’ve been working on one project solidly for the last two years, so I can’t wait to be able to spread my wings a little.

Which celebrity do you like to think people mistake you for?

I don’t like to think, I know that people mistake me for Kayvan Novak, Facejacker. I’d like to pretend that people mistake me for Brad Pitt, but deep down I know that’s really not the case.

What is the theme song to your life?

That would have to be Stone Cold Steve Austin’s entrance music, simply because I’m a real wrestling nerd and Stone Cold was a real father figure when I was growing up. Maybe not the best father figure, but one nonetheless.

If you could have a mythical creature as a pet, what would it be?

Well everyone would say dragon because of Game of Thrones, and that’s dull so I’m not saying that. Probably a Leprechaun simply because they can speak English and keep up a decent conversation. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a hydra or a chimera and not be able to understand a single word they're saying. No, leprechaun it is -­ for the bants. And also for the gold. All the gold.

If you were reincarnated as a zoo animal, what animal would you be?

I’m trying to think what gets the biggest paddock. So long as Jurassic Park doesn’t count as I guess you’re referring to animals that aren’t extinct, I’d have to pick panda. They get a good­ sized paddock and a great social life. I’d be happy to chew bamboo and hang any day of the week.

If you were a superhero, what would your name and power be?

I kind of feel like you as a superhero you should earn your name. It’s a little selfish to just turn up and say “Hi there, I’m Captain Power” or whatever. Unless you’re invisible, in which case your name is made for you. That said, I would have superhuman strength so Captain Power it is. Unless I’m invisible, in which case Captain Invisible.

Elves or Dwarves?

Elvish gear gives you better mobility stats so I’ll go with that. I like to be able to get around quickly.

And finally, if you could know the answer to any question what would it be?

This one.

Thanks Sam, great to have you on board! Interested in finding out how you could become part of the Giraffe team? Check out our list of current vacancies...

Social Media Day 2016: 4 Ways to Celebrate, Social Media Style

How to celebrate social media day

Since its initial launch in 2010, Mashable’s Social Media Day has grown with each passing year. It is fast becoming an internationally-recognised day wherein people from all around the globe join to celebrate the impact that social media has had on our lives and the way we interact with one another.

Social media is all about communicating and connecting so what better time than on the official Social Media Day? This year on June 30th is the seventh annual official global celebration - so consider this an advanced warning. Time to get your social media party planner shoes on.

There are lots ways you can commemorate this day and the heightened sense of connectivity we all feel. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:

1. Create your own hash tag.

Along with Mashable’s own ‘#SMDay’, you could create your own hash tag to suit your group of friends, your family, your business, your school, and so on. Use it alongside the official one to chronicle your community’s input. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to collect together the day’s events and connect in the way the hash tag is designed to make us do.

2. Create a collage of your Facebook pictures.

The initial Facebook generation were all teenagers when they first signed up and are, now, mostly, all grown up. As a result, we’ve all got a fair few embarrassing photos. Why not own it and create a photo collage sourced solely from the albums of Facebook of yore? Embrace your younger, embarrassing self!!

3. Instagram your 24-hour day.

Why not stay up for the whole 24-hours of Social Media Day and take a photo of what you’re up to during each hour? Put them all up together and create an ‘album’ of your day. Make sure you share your hash tag with friends so that they can keep a track of your day’s progress (and cheer you on when you start to feel sleepy!).

4. Throw a party. Conventional, but with a social media twist!

Throwing a party seems like the most obvious choice for how to celebrate something but what if it was a party decorated solely with ideas from Pinterest, and photos were uploaded with a specific hash tag to Instagram or Twitter? The potential for ideas it literally endless as there are millions of photos to work from too.

5. Just get involved!

Whatever you do, make sure you do something – even if it is just a single tweet – to support this awesome idea. Social media has changed the way we live our lives, the way we communicate with our loved ones, even the way we buy and advocate products. What better opportunity to lend it the appreciation it deserves!?

How are you celebrating social media day? Tweet us - @GiraffeSM!

Photo Source: By Anna Hanks with additional in-house blog title overlay, [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Twitter Announces Emoji Targeting for Ads

Emoji Ad Targeting

Twitter have announced a new way to target ads on their network in time for World Emoji Day on July 17th. Businesses will now be able to use emojis as keywords in order to connect with users expressing similar sentiments…

In a post on their blog on the 15th June, Twitter announced that they were releasing the new capability in line with their values of constantly improving precise targeting to “help drive deep engagement and better performance for brands.” Apparently an epic 110 billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014.

Emoji targeting allows marketers and advertisers to target users who have engaged or tweeted certain emojis through a selection of the network’s official Partners. Supposedly the feature allows brands a unique opportunity to reach users with certain mindsets, passions and even types of food - for example, the humble pizza emoji which has become ubiquitous with Giraffe Social Media #FatFriday tweets.

World Emoji Day

As pointed out by Twitter, the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2015 was none other than ‘Face with Tears of Joy’, or 😂 as it is more commonly known. This alone is a key signifier for the massive increase in the popularity of emojis across the world. World Emoji Day takes place on July 17th as it is the day that is displayed on the iOS calendar Emoji. Created by the founder of Emojipedia Jeremy Burge in 2014, according to the official website the purpose of the day is as follows:

"We ❤️ love emojis. You 💙 love emojis. Let’s  celebrate them! 🎉 celebrate them! The purpose of 🌎 World Emoji Day is to promote the use of emojis and spread the 😝 enjoyment that the bring to all of those 👬👫👭 around us."

As of yet we are unsure as to how successful emoji targeting will be. As primarily an expression of mood, it could have the potential to be a key identifier for reaching and engaging new audience members if used alongside sufficient industry focused keywords. However only time will tell to what extent.

Facebook Live for Dummies

How to use Facebook Live for Business

If you’re looking for the sum total of the most engaging content styles on social media, video takes the biscuit. But when you take the rate of engagement of video and multiply it by the exclusivity of live content, you get something altogether irresistible to users. That’s what makes Facebook live such an exciting prospect for businesses…

Live streaming is in no way a new concept. It has been around in one form or another for a great deal of years now. But it’s only recently with the development of smartphone technology and untethered data that it’s been able to really come into it’s own.

Facebook live was announced back in August last year, and at the time was released only to a selection of verified public figures through the app, and was marketed as “a new way for you to connect with your favorite public figures.” It’s since been rolled out to all users to access via iPhone and Android apps and can be used by verified businesses as a marketing tool.

How to go live on Facebook

In order to go live on Facebook you will need a quality smartphone, the Facebook app for Android or iOS and a good internet connection. Head to the app and navigate onto your business page before following the steps below:

Facebook Live Publish Button Giraffe Social Media1. Tap the publish button: The publish button is right at the top-­left of your page, just below your call to action. This is the same process you would follow if you wanted to post anything on the go.

 

 

 

Facebook Live Button2. Tap the live stream icon: The live stream icon is the one that looks a little bit like a person with a double afro.

 

 

 

Giraffe Social Media on Facebook Live

3. Write a description: It’s really important that you write a sufficient description for your live stream, otherwise users won’t have a clue what you’re doing! Then just Tap go live and start streaming!

 

 


Things to know before going live

Just like any other part of your strategy, the key to a successful live broadcast on Facebook is planning and preparation. You should also be aware that broadcasts are currently limited to 90 minutes and are immediately converted into videos once you finish streaming. Facebook’s best practice has three top tips for businesses before they go live, which are as follows:

1. Inform people ahead of time when you are going to broadcast: It’s a no-­brainer really, but you need to market your broadcast in advance if you have any hopes of getting the right people tune in. Set some time aside to build some hype about your live stream.

2. Keep an eye on the strength of your connection: We often wish that from where we are now worrying about internet connection should be a thing of the past. However, sadly it is still the case. Without a good enough internet connection, you will be unable to start a Facebook live broadcast.

3. Spend time writing a good description for your broadcast: So much has been written about creating awesome headlines for content and crafting great posts. The same thing counts here. Make sure it is enticing and actually makes sense.

What to do when you are live

What you do when you are live will depend on your business and the sort of content you share. Options range from behind the scenes sneak peeks or products, to Q&As with staff members, to in­-action live content. Bear in mind that users can follow you and opt to get notifications for future streams during while they are watching the broadcast. Encourage them to do so! As you stream you will see new users popping up -­ greet them all by name and make them feel welcome. This makes them far more likely to keep viewing.

Happy streaming!

Google Thanks the Internet’s Most Polite Grandmother

Polite Grandmother on Google

Google has used social media to personally reply to an exceptionally polite search conducted by an 86-year­-old grandmother. May Ashworth, who appreciates that manners cost nothing, believed she was communicating with a person at Google HQ when she used the search engine and has gone viral after her grandson tweeted a picture of one of her search queries.

25­-year-­old Ben John from Wigan had been visiting his nan May to do some washing when he stumbled upon a dreadfully polite search query on her laptop. Appreciating how delightful a sentiment it was, the Twitter user couldn’t help but to snap a quick photo and share it ­- which has since been retweeted over 15.5k times and received over 23k likes!

When asked why she had included ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in her search, May explained to her Grandson that she believed it to be standard online etiquette

“I asked my nan why she used “please” and “thank you” and it seemed she thinks that there is someone -­ a physical person -­ at Google’s headquarters who looks after searches… She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.”

Google respond in kind

While the world’s biggest search engine doesn’t care if you ask for information politely (on the contrary, it’s likely to affect the effectiveness of your search) May’s words nevertheless touched the hearts of the people behind the scenes. When the tweet took off, both Google’s official UK and Global accounts decided to respond in kind, explaining that in a world of millions of searches, it was hers that had brightened up their day.

It just goes to show that in a digital world where we are becoming increasingly focused on speed and efficiency, it still pays to take time to appreciate the amount of work that goes into making the awesome platforms which have quite literally changed our lives. May Ashworth ­- we tip our hats to you!

Negative Social Media Comments and How To Deal With Them

How to respond to negative social media comments

As a business on social media at one point or another you will have to deal with negative feedback; and if there’s one sure-­fire way to damage your brand on social media it’s by ignoring negative comments by users.

As a digital marketing platform, social media allows brands to connect and engage with their customers in order to build relationships with them and ultimately turn them into advocates. It’s that rapid expansion that encourages growth, turns the tide on negatively trending web traffic and fundamentally increases sales through brand awareness.

Because of this, it stands to reason that the last thing you want to do when something potentially harmful pops up on your page is ignore it. When a business decides to disregard and delete a negative comment they are not only avoiding addressing a bigger issue, they are also inadvertently making a statement about how little they value their customers.

Your social media pages should be the human face of your brand, and that means responding to all sufficiently.

The difficulty with social media comments

Unfortunately, the majority of negative comments and complaints left on social networks come from consumers who don’t feel they are being sufficiently listened to by a company, either through different media channels or in person. These are consumers who understand that users look to social media for reviews and insider information about a brand - so they want other users to hear what they have to say.

Because of this the majority of negative comments will be on the harsher end of the spectrum. That’s why efficient and sufficient responses are always required. Honesty and transparency is the name of the game here.

Company Errors

Company errors range depending on your industry and your business. When a legitimate comment comes through, time is of the essence. At this point it’s vital that you take time to respond in a way that sufficiently shows you understand the issue from the user’s point of view. Even if the issue arises from a process that your business has no control over, such as another supplier who lets you down, this means nothing to the customer. For them the only reality is the inconvenience that has been caused.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if it you are at fault be willing to admit to it. When users see evidence of businesses addressing issues head on they are far more likely to respect them. Address these issues; offer an incentive that would restore their faith in your brand.

Misunderstandings

When an issue arises from a misunderstanding you should still be willing to offer the customer an apology and see things from their point of view, then supply an explanation and a solution. Again, it’s all about being as responsive as humanly possible.

People who just want to ruin your day

Some might have you believe that there is a lesson to be learnt from all negative comments, but the truth is that there are a lot of trolls on the Internet. From time to time, you will experience spammy comments to some extent. At that point you have to make a decision -­ to ignore or to call out. When dealing with trolls, often it’s better not to feed them.

Whether you respond or not is an important judgement call that you will have to make, however, if they are a reputable user making completely unsubstantiated claims, it could be a good idea to call it out. How you do this depends on your tone of voice. For more professional businesses it’s a good idea to point out the inaccuracies in their statement with the support of facts, in order to provide other users with the bigger picture.

 

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