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Social Media News Roundup: June ‘17 Week 4

Social media news roundup june 17 week 4
In the news this week - Facebook announces new features for group admins and Instagram wants to buddy up with Hollywood movie stars...
Facebook is adding new features for group admins

On Thursday 22nd of June Facebook held their first Communities Summit in Chicago. Attended by hundreds of group admins, at it Facebook announced several new features to help users grow and manage their groups. According to a post on the Newsroom, more than 1 billion people around the world use Groups, with over 100 million being members of “meaningful groups” - those that quickly become a central part of their experience on the social network.

Among the features announced were Group Insights, offering admins real-time growth, engagement and membership metrics, membership request filtering, post scheduling and group-to-group linking. Full details of all of the updates can be found on this post.

Facebook trialling new tools to deter profile picture misuse in India

Facebook have added an optional ‘Picture Guard’ tool for users in India in a bid to deter profile picture misuse on the network. According to a post on Facebook’s Newsroom, when an extra design layer is added to a picture other people are 75% less likely to copy it.

The guard tool effectively renders pictures less accessible. Those with the tool added cannot be downloaded and people you aren’t friends with cannot tag people in it. Alongside that, on Android devices Facebook prevents the use of screenshots. Facebook have said that they will use their experience with the tool in India to consider expansion to other countries.

Facebook offering free advertising to anti-terror groups

Facebook will give free advertising credit to anti-terror groups in a bid to crack down on radical propaganda and terror across the network. The social network has previously been criticised for not doing enough to counter extremism. The new initiative is being referred to as a “counter speech” campaign and will be focussed in the UK. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, announced that they will give advertising credit to groups such as the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. Announcing the initiative, she said:

“No one should have to live in fear of terrorism, and we all have a part to play in stopping violent extremism from spreading… There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook. Partnerships with others - including tech companies, civil society, researchers and governments - are a crucial piece of the puzzle.”

Instagram looks set to bolster ties with Hollywood influencers

Facebook is currently looking to engage with Hollywood celebrities and direct them to its Instagram unit, in a bid to keep pace with YouTube video content and fend off Snap. Celebrities and high-profile users play a crucial role in encouraging audience growth.  

Looking at a job ad on LinkedIn, Instagram are hiring for a new executive in Los Angeles to help  “drive high impact and authentic use of Instagram for public figures” leading “outreach efforts with entertainment industry influencers”.

Instagram expands options for live videos with Stories

Instagram now offer users the option to share a replay of their live videos to Instagram Stories. According to a post on their press site, millions of people have used live since it's introduction in November. Once a live broadcast has ended, users will be able to tap “Share” at the bottom of the screen and a replay will be available on Stories for 24 hours.

Effective Competitor Analysis for Social Media Greatness

social media competitor analysis

One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure success for your social media marketing campaigns is through effective competitor analysis.

Businesses have now grown to understand the potential that social media offers as a marketplace. However, due to it being so mainstream, many are unwilling to invest time and energy into planning and preparation.

One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in the preliminary stages is launching forward without defining clear goals and establishing what tactics will help achieve those goals.

Like a great deal many things, planning is key to success on social media. Competitor analysis is a key part for this. It not only allows you to garner ideas, it also gives you a clear idea of benchmark expectations for growth and engagement. These can then be cross-referenced with your own results further down the line.

Many businesses on social media forget competitor analysis when they launch their social media pages. But the truth is competitor analysis often turns out to be one of the most useful and valuable studies that a marketer can undertake before getting going.

The key points below will help you better know what to look for when conducting competitor analysis for social media...

1. Identify your competitors and what Social Networks they use

You probably already have a good idea of who your competitors are, however, it’s a good idea to double check that these are the same on social media. Those who you consider less prominent competitors in general may have cracked social media on a bigger scale than others!

Look across absolutely all networks to see which they use. Remember that Facebook and Twitter aren’t the be all and end all of social networks. Some businesses get an awful lot of  their brand awareness and engagement from things like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and (particularly for B2B) LinkedIn.

2. Consider their Social Media voice and rates of activity

Social media was created by humans for humans. If they have cracked it, your competitors voice on social media will reflect that and differ from their general professional voice. It will generally be more personable.

Do they use humour? Have they opted for a friendly, helpful tone to encourage interaction? Whatever it is, consider how it might effect audience engagement. After that, analyse the frequency at which they post on each network.

3. Consider following and engagement ratios

This step helps you to gather the sort of data that will help you to analyse your results further down the line. Analysing engagement rates also gives you a good idea of how popular each competitor is with their audience in comparison to each other.

Depending on how thorough you want your analysis to be, this can again be a time-consuming process. If one competitor has lower engagement on their posts by their followers than others, consider why. Do they engage actively with them? Is there something about the content that could be affecting it?

4. Identify the style of content that works for them

Content! It's a golden word. It’s what entices your audience to engage with your brand and increases your reach. By measuring how successful each content medium (video, live, graphics, polls, competitions, etc.) is with their fans you can give yourself a better idea of the kind of things that might work for you.

5. See how they integrate their channels

It’s important to remember that social media was created to be integrated! Many companies are successful on social media because they create great blog content on their own website and share it through their social channels. Chances are that if that content is popular with their audience, it could be for you too.

Social Media News Roundup: May ’17 Week 4

social media news roundup may 2017 week 4
In the news this week - Twitter adds 69 new emojis, Facebook allows fundraising for personal causes and Instagram begins to understand links…
Twitter adds 69 new emojis, becoming the first social network to support Emoji 5.0

Twitter has become the first social networking site to support the newest round of emojis, finalised in March. Included are separate flags for England, Scotland and Wales, chopsticks, steak, a porcupine and a zebra.

The newest round of emojis, known as Emoji 5.0, was released only last week. Twitter’s custom set is known as Twemoji and includes all 69 images of the latest update (239 with skin tone variations and duplicates.) Support for Emoji 5.0 currently isn’t available on iOS or Android devices - so the new lineup of emojis are only available on Twitter’s desktop site for the time being.

Facebook expands Fundraisers to allows user to raise money for personal causes

Facebook has expanded its fundraising feature to allow users to more easily raise cash for a variety of causes, including personal causes. With Fundraisers, Facebook look to take on popular crowdfunding services such as Just Giving and Go Fund Me. Crowdfunding campaigns already rely on social media marketing to be successful, and with Facebook appearing to take a smaller percentage than other options, it could be something of a no-brainer feature.

Fundraisers began testing in March and have recently been developed to allow users to fund raise for a number of other personal causes. These include educational supplies, medical procedures, personal emergencies, and community projects. In an article on its Newsroom, Facebook said this:

“People can create a fundraiser to quickly raise money on Facebook and easily reach their friends in a few taps, without leaving Facebook, and can share fundraisers to help build momentum. People can learn about the person who created the fundraiser and the person benefiting from the fundraiser, as well as see which friends have donated.”

Twitter Apple TV app supports live, 360 degree video and Periscope’s global map

Twitter has updated its Apple TV app with some new, significant features. It has now become the first Apple TV app to support live 360 degree video, which makes use of the Siri remote to move the video and view from different angles, offering a more immersive viewing experience. Twitter is making significant inroads into the live streaming market, including announcing earlier this month a series of live shows from Viacom, Live Nation, BuzzFeed and WNBA amongst others.

Alongside premium live content, viewers on the Twitter app for Apple TBV will also have the option to explore via the added Periscope map. This will allow them to find user-generated live content, both standard and 360, from across the globe.

Instagram expands direct messaging with support for links and raw photo sharing

At last count, Instagram direct messaging was seeing around 375 million monthly active users, and that number is undoubtedly growing. In response, the social network has now added a couple of new features intended to make it a more useful messaging option. Support has been added for external web links, and now inclues inline previews for URLs.

Alongside supporting links, Instagram users are also now able to send original, unedited photo and video content with other users. The ability to send photos in their original aspect ratios will reduce the amount of time users will have to spend on external messaging platforms. These updates are currently rolling out to iOS users and will be coming to Android soon.

Twitter launches DM cards for brands, a new way to promote their chatbots

Twitter have launched a new way for brands to promote and share the bots and customer experiences they have created. Direct Message Cards can be customised to help drive discovery of these experiences via Promoted Tweets or organic posting. DM cards can be embedded with custom image of video creatives and up to four call-to-action buttons.

One of the launch partners for this new feature is Patrón Tequila. They are using DM cards to help drive discovery of its messaging bot. So-called ‘Bot-Tender’ creates personalised cocktail recommendations based on a users responses to questions about occasions and flavours, amongst other things.

Instagram announces location-based stories for Explore and adds an ‘archive’ option

Finally, Instagram have announced the roll out of Location Stories for its Explore page - after a similar feature was (rather unsurprisingly) released by Snapchat less than two months ago. By enabling users to search for Stories from strangers whose privacy settings are set to public based on their location, Instagram offers users another level of discover-ability for their Stories content.

Alongside location-based stories, Instagram have added an ‘Archive’ option in the hope to deter permanent deletion of out-dated or under-performing posts.

Social Media News Roundup: May ’17 Week 2

social media news roundup may 17 week 2
In the news this week - Twitter signs deal to live-stream NFL content, Instagram allows uploads from it's mobile site and that guy who really wanted some chicken nuggets gets some chicken nuggets...
Twitter signs deal to stream NFL content (but no games)

Twitter may have missed out on the chance to live stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football games to Amazon, however they have bagged themselves a deal to stream specific content on the network. The agreement will allow Twitter to stream a selection of official NFL video content to users, including a 30-minute digital show, airing five nights a week during the season.

Alongside the exclusive digital show, NFL coverage by Twitter will include Periscope broadcasts of pre and post-match snippets, such as warm-ups and interviews. NFL reported James Palmer tweeted about the sort of content that will be included:

New LinkedIn feature uses location information to suggest nearby users

LinkedIn has introduced a new feature intended to “maximise the benefits of Linkedin… [and] provide you with opportunities to network with other LinkedIn members at conferences, events and more in your proximity.” Once privacy settings are enabled to allow as such, it will use mobile location information to share profile information with nearby users.

The new feature could certainly improve discoverability at networking events if used correctly. Once enabled, the names and profiles of first-level connections nearby will pop up.

New Facebook partnership looks to bolster 360-degree video

A new partnership between Facebook and Blend Media looks to create a “creator community” of 360-degree video project workers. Blend Media is a tech platform that works alongside brands, agencies and publishers, and through the partnership Facebook will have access to their premium content library. Likewise, Blend Media will have unique access to the social network’s 360 team.

The partnership is important because unlike other styles of video, user-generated 360-degree video isn't really a thing yet. Although conventional video content is still noticeably more engaging that 360, over half of buyers and sellers in the UK believe that it will prove one of the best revenue streams over the next 12 months. Founder and CEO of Blend Media, Damian Collier, said this:

“Consumers both expect and deserve high quality engaging content, and no medium is more engaging than 360-degree video and VR. As a relatively new format, there’s a need to help nurture and support the creator community in the 360-degree video space…
Facebook’s commitment to driving innovation in video could not be more apparent. They also understand more than anyone that users are increasingly engaging with 360-degree and VR content, in many cases watching 360-degree video for considerably longer than fixed video,”

Twitter embraces AI to power tweet recommendations

Twitter has joined the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft in embracing the power of artificial inteligence with new technology that better provides accurate tweet recommendations for users. The social network is making use of deep learning, which involves the “training” of software through repetition and variables.

Until now Twitter’s tweet recommendations were based on a far less advanced algorithm. However, with the addition of more intelligent AI systems, they hope to boost engagement rates and time spent on the social network by its users.

Chicken nugget addict breaks re-tweet world record

The world record for the most re-tweeted tweet ever, originally held by Elle DeGeneres for the famous Oscar Selfie, has been broken by a guy who really wanted free chicken nuggets. We won’t go into all the details, because it really is that simple. Carter Wilkerson’s tweet reached 3,430,249 retweets on Tuesday, enough to bag himself a year’s free supply of chicken nuggets alongside a donation of $100,000 to a charity by US fast food chain Wendy’s in his name.

Instagram rolls out sharing from its mobile site

Finally, Instagram has rolled out the ability to upload images direct from it’s mobile sight. The upgrade also included a light version of the Explore tab. Although there is still no posting available via the desktop version, by inspecting their webpage users can view the mobile sight and upload images from their desktop computer. See the process in the video below.

How to Optimise Content for Social Media Distribution

optimise content for social media

If you want to see the greatest amount of interaction and engagement on your posts through social media, you need to be sure you optimise content for distribution on those networks.

You can have written the most meticulously researched, expertly analysed article imaginable that is destined to change perceptions within your industry - but if you haven't spent a good amount of time (more time than spent writing, even) on distributing and promoting it, then don’t expect a huge ROI any time soon. Or ever.

The most successful content marketers aren’t always the best writers. They are the ones who understand the social media landscape. There are many reasons social networks are the ultimate content distribution platform. To start with, they offer the ability to easily integrate and share content. They also have the power to target a specific sub-section of users. This all maximises the possibility for widespread engagement, resulting in an insurmountable reach.

Why you need to optimise content for distribution

While the vast majority of marketers have a good grasp of the positives, not all of them are using social media to its full potential. The ones who are are the ones who optimise content properly for distribution.

Look at it this way. You may have pinpointed the correct network and the exact time of the day to post for the highest rate of clicks, but if you haven't properly optimised your headline, image or message to provoke a response from the widest variety of users, you can't realistic expect those clicks. Here is some of our best advice for optimising your content for social media distribution.

Get serious about your headlines

Writing a better title or headline for your content will not only work wonders for content distribution, it could also have a far better long-game impact on your SEO. Great content writers can spend hours meditating on the best headline structure as it is just as, if not more, important than the article itself.

No serious marketer ever wants to advocate clickbait, but it’s undeniable just how well a title that develops intrigue and hype at first glance can fare on the internet. If headlines aren’t your strong point or you’re looking for something to help direct you, we recommend CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool.

Remember, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from tailoring your original headline for each particular network. Distribution should be ongoing - it’s not a one post thing - so you can afford to A/B test different headlines and get a better feel for what sentiments, structures and power words get the best reaction with each audience.

Put more thought into your graphics

There’s little point in explaining the importance of visual content on social media; anybody who uses it will already understand. Content writers are also fully aware of how it can be useful to utilise graphics and other types of content (embedded posts, videos, etc.,) within the body of an article to reduce bounce rate. But crafting posts that get the most engagement goes beyond adding a generic blog title graphic.

Consider how you can merge your headline and your graphic to instil the most amount of intrigue and encourage the biggest response. In order to utilise networks such as Instagram, you can also create bespoke graphics making use of figures and specific specks of information from your article, and include the URL in your page header.

Get your colleagues involved in distribution

Humans trust other humans’ judgement more than they do that of a brand. Content distribution isn’t just about what you post as your business or organisation, it’s also about getting your colleagues and advocates involved too.

This is particularly important on professional networks such as LinkedIn. To make this a more attractive thing, figure out ways to integrate the comments and expert opinions of employees within your content. This will give them a sense of ownership and encourage their advocacy, while also having the positive effect of giving a heightened professionalism to your article.

Social Media News Roundup: May ’17 Week 1

social media news roundup  may 17 week 1
In the news this week - Facebook tests new loyalty rewards scheme, Twitter’s TV app made available on Roku and Pinterest releases top 10 travel destinations…
Facebook rolls out emoji reactions for comments

Facebook users are now able to react to comments on posts with an emoji. Reaction emojis were first released a year ago, offering users the ability to respond to posts with the expressions ‘Love, ‘Haha’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’ and ‘Angry’, however they have only recently began offering this feature for comments too.

The feature has only just introduced the functionality. For that reason, not every user will be able to make use of it just yet. A spokesperson for the company said:

“We’ve heard from people they’d like more ways to show their reaction in conversations on Facebook, so we’re rolling out the ability to react to comments.”

Facebook tests new loyalty rewards scheme

Facebook is trialling a new rewards scheme that allows users access to a personalised QR code that can be scanned at certain shops to give them access to discounts and loyalty rewards. The feature was spotted by Techcrunch and can be found under the More section on the mobile app. However it is currently only appearing for a small subset of users.

As yet, it isn’t clear what kind of discounts will be available through the scheme. The new feature could be evidence of Facebook trying to encourage more advertisers onto the network by providing them with the ability to track advertising to the point of sale. This is an area that Snapchat has recently invested in with the release of ‘Snap to Store’. When approached about the feature, Facebook said:

“To help businesses continue to connect with customers where they are, we’re running a small test that enables people to use the Facebook app to collect and redeem rewards when they make a purchase at a participating store.”

Security warning issued over “10 concerts” Facebook meme

Security experts are warning Facebook users against engaging with the popular ‘10 concerts’ post meme, which could be a clever phishing attempt. The viral posts encourages users to share a list of nine concerts that they have been to alongside one they have. However, it could be a hackers attempt to discover a crucial piece of important information from users - the first concert they went to - which just so happens to be one of Facebook’s security questions.

Google and Facebook now control one-fifth of global ad-spend

Research shows that last year Google and Facebook accounted for one-fifth of global advertising spend - almost double the figure of five years ago. According to data and analysis agency Zenith, Google attracted $79.4bn in ad revenues last year, while Facebook pulled in $26.9bn. Internet-only media companies are currently dominating the market, forcing traditional publishers far behind.

Twitter’s TV video app now available on Roku

Twitter has taken yet another step forward in positioning itself as a video platform by releasing an app on supported devices that allows users to access live video streams - even without an account. Already available on Apple TV, Xbox One and Amazon Fire TV devices, the latest device to receive the app is streaming TV and media player Roku.

Pinterest and Airbnb release the top 10 trending travel destinations

Pinterest has teamed up with Airbnb to bring users a list of the top trending travel destinations on the network right now, alongside some awesome places to stay in those locations. Some might come as something of a surprise to users. In reverse order, they are…

10. Barcelona, Spain
9. Santorini, Greece
8. New York City, USA
7. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
6. Kyoto, Japan
5. Reykjavic, Iceland
4. Highlands, Scotland
3. Courchevel, France
2. Tenerife, Canary Islands
1. Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Social Media For Startups: Three Steps to Success

Social media for startups

Social media for startups is essential. Used correctly, it can help shape your brand, create lasting relationships with consumers and reach out to potential employees.

Digital marketing budgets are now at an all time high, a result of a nation obsessed with social networking, online shopping and digital media. The nature of social means that you are able to benefit from instant feedback during the preliminary stages of your launch. Harnessing this potential is invaluable to positive evolution and cementing confidence in your brand.

So why social media for startups? Well, when you put them on paper, the benefits are obvious. Social networks offer an easy, direct passage to your audience. Targeted ads mean that you can put your brand message in front of those people (who could potentially become advocates) while it is still new and innovative.

Relative to other aspects of a digital marketing strategy, social media for startups also requires less investment in order to be optimised. Social networks offer just the right amount of customisation for your brand; not so much that you require an adept coder to look professional, and yet not so much as to restrict you to a white-label account.

To make it easier to tap into social media for startups, we’ve put together three simple steps that can make all the difference:

1. Create your strategy before your profile

Before you get going, you need to know what you want to achieve. This means creating your social media strategy before you even get round to creating your profile[s]. In order to achieve your goals, every little piece of content you include will need to stem from your strategy - and the best way to know that you have done this is to have it at the forefront of your mind before you get building. Define your goals; your primary and secondary objectives could be any combination of the following:

  • Build brand awareness
    All startups will, whether intentionally or not, be using their social to build awareness of their new business.
  • Distribution of content
    If engaging, unique and niche specific content is an integral aspect of your startup venture, you should be using social as a primary method of preliminary distribution, driving potential consumers to your website.
  • Increase web traffic
    This will stem from your content, and ultimately rely on how well you have disseminated your brand identity into your posts.
  • Locate and acquire potential customers
    The ultimate goal for most startup strategies is to locate and acquire potential customers - but to do so you must first understand which steps you will need to take to get there.

Knowing your objectives will also help define the tonality, feel and frequency of your posts, and also the variety of audience you reach out to. These things also have roots in your brand identity. Defining your objectives will allow you to reach your goals.

2. Choose your channels wisely and listen to your audience

Not all social networks will be suitable for your objectives. Consider where the majority of your audience will be hiding. While there may be billions of users on one network, this amounts to nothing if they are not the right sort of customer for your business.

Social media can be utilised just as well as a customer service tool - a priceless aspect of building a business. Use your channels to listen to your customers and see what they have to say. You essentially have yourself a focus group of potential consumers!

3. Experiment and be willing to evolve

Take advantage of these early stages of your business and allow yourself to experiment with different content styles and engagement techniques and see what works for you! Always be willing to evolve as you discover more about your industry.

Throughout the process of building social media for any startup venture, be sure to evaluate often and comprehensively. If you follow these simple tips, you are sure to be on track to getting your startup noticed - and that could happen a lot quicker than you first expect!

Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 4

social media news roundup
In the news this week - Instagram reaches 700 million users, Pinterest looks to reinvent itself and Twitter wants to live-stream 24/7…
Twitter shares rise as users grow at higher-than-expected rates

Shares in Twitter surged more than 10 percent this week. Alongside better than projected revenues and earnings, investors cited an increase in users. The social network, which struggled to grow its user-base in line with rival networks throughout 2016, said it was “proud to report… accelerating growth in daily active usage for the fourth consecutive quarter, up 14 percent year over year.”

Although no actual numbers were released for daily active users on the network, Twitter announced that monthly active users were  9m more than the previous quarter at 328m, 7m more than expected. Chief executive Jack Dorsey said this:

“While we continue to face revenue headwinds, we believe that executing on our plan and growing our audience should result in positive revenue growth over the long term.”

Twitter’s ambitions to live-stream 24 hours a day

Twitter is making a stand to increase its dominance in the world of social networking live streaming with plans to broadcast news, sports and entertainment 24 hours a day. Twitter COO and CFO Anthony Noto spoke about the company’s ambitions in an extensive interview with BuzzFeed News:

“We will definitely have 24/7 content on Twitter… Our goal is to be a dependable place so that when you want to see what’s happening, you think of going to Twitter.”

New app helps Instagram users choose a caption for their photo

Former Made In Chelsea star Amber Atherton has launched an iOS app that uses computer vision technology to offer up potential captions for photos. Rubric, which has already been downloaded over 7,000 times, attempts to detect what is in a photo, allows users to choose a subject, before suggesting captions such as quotes, phrases and song lyrics.

Instagram reaches 700 million users

Instagram looks set to be Facebook’s next venture to reach 1 billion users. The social networking app has gained an additional 100 million monthly active users in the last four months, putting the total at 700 million active users a month. The team said this on the Instagram Press Blog:

We’ve made it even easier for people across the globe to join the Instagram community, share their experiences and strengthen connections to their friends and passions. With new features like stories, live video and disappearing messages in Direct, people now have more ways than ever to express themselves and feel closer to what matters to them.

Pinterest looks to reinvent itself with major ad campaign

Pinterest is hoping to reinvent itself as a visual search engine and not a social network in its first major ad campaign this summer. Unlike networks such as Facebook which are looking to virtual reality, Pinterest wants to inspire real lives. CEO Ben Silbermann said this:

“I hope that Pinterest would someday be so useful to people they could so reliably get inspiring ideas that they wouldn’t be able to imagine how they used to just go through life and find inspiration for things.”

Bad Social Media Techniques You Need to Stop Right Now

Bad social media techniques
If you are unknowingly utilising bad social media techniques as part of your strategy, you might as well not bother. One cowboy tactic can ruin everything.

Sometimes all it takes to elevate a social media campaign from great to magnificent is one teeny strategy addition. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the opposite. Make one erroneous strategy addition, no matter how teeny it is, and your results can plummet.

One thing in particular has made identifying bad social media practices a much harder process than it needs to be; Marketing.

A fairly scathing statement now I look at it written it down, and an ironic one to boot. But true because often these practices are better marketed than best-practice strategies. Why? Well, they can make guarantees about vanity numbers simply because they use underhanded methods; case and point, buying followers. Genuine services have to work on projections justified by the strategies they create, and by previous results from similar strategies.

Why we all stumble into bad social media techniques

There are so many things you can work to achieve on social media, and so many ways you could potential achieve those things. Building social media marketing takes time and a great deal of A/B testing. At some point, we are all going to try something that turns out to be a bad idea in the long-run. The greatest of these being, y’know, giving it up all together.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some strategies are downright boring to work on but get the job done perfectly well. These can often result in apathy - and from that place of despondency we can stumble into bad social media practices too. The greatest of these again being, y’know, giving it up all together.

On that note, here are some bad social media techniques that you’d do well to avoid:

1. Using a curation tool for personalised shortlinks

Some content curation tools, in particular the ones that use sales buzzwords to market themselves, allow you to add your own call to action banner to a piece of content via a personalised shortlink on Twitter. Any content writer who has had their work curated this way (ahem) will tell you that it is dishonest and frustrating.

These apps, such as MarketHub.io, effectively create a duplicate version of your page with somebody else’s call to action (often with the words free webinar included) slapped across it. In many cases, this call to action doesn’t disappear when internal links are clicked. This is misleading, making visitors think that the brand or person on the CTA is affiliated with the website or content.

These are the kind of bad social media techniques that not only harm your own brand, but even worst, can effectively destroy the hard work of another innocent content marketer.

2. Buying followers

If I hadn’t already made it perfectly clear, buying followers is the thing that you should never, ever do. These are nothing but empty numbers; bots and fake accounts that reduce your reach and flag your pages as spam. I’ve gone into this in full and complete detail in my previous article ‘Why you should never, under any circumstances, buy followers’.

3. Using vanity hashtags

I’ve gone into this previously in my article “Why popular hashtags are ruining your strategy”. I’m not totally convinced that vanity hashtags is a recognised term, but it should be. What I’m referring to is using hashtags that exist primarily because they rhyme or roll off the tongue nicely; case and point, #mondaymotivation.

Social media managers and marketers often end up including these hashtags in their posting strategy because they are relevant; which is fine. But when they are engaged with for no reason but numbers, they simply end up marketing to other marketers who are just looking for numbers.

4. Using auto-DMS on Twitter

I’ve made it perfectly clear in the past that automated Twitter messages are the single most annoying and pointless technique ever to darken the doors of social media marketing. These are often sent via following/un-following software/apps that are standard sales pitches. They have effectively made direct messaging on Twitter utterly redundant for anybody who ever wanted to use it for, I don’t know, direct messaging other users.

5. Spending all your resources on so-called “viral” content

Ah, “viral”. Many an MDs favourite term and one that, when heard, makes social media managers shudder. This idea that you can somehow create social media content that is so mind-bogglingly good, so shareable, that the process of merely posting it on your wall will mean that the whole internet will leap on it is totally nonsensical.

I’m not saying that things don’t go viral, that would be a fallacy. However, the idea that you can fabricate virality (not a real term) is. Things go viral when the planets align - the most we can do is create awesome content and ensure it is fastidiously distributed/promoted to the right people.

Constantly piling all your resources into content creation is not a sustainable strategy. You need to be interacting with real people consistently, always conducting network analysis and tweaking your strategy as needed, posting daily in order to make sure your message is getting across.

6. Not giving your strategy the time of day

This is a point that I cannot stress enough. The best social media marketing strategies are built, sustained and made-whole by analytical data. When you start a social media marketing strategy you need to be persistent with it. That way you can see what is working, what isn’t working, and where you perhaps need to redistribute your investment.

Social media isn’t a sales channel. However, many professionals are sales minded. If that’s you, turn your eyes away from your bottom line because unless we are talking about social PPC, it isn’t advertising. Instead, conduct a little social listening - see how much people are talking about your brand now.

7. Thinking social media is the only thing that needs work

If you are building an engaged, relevant audience, and traffic from social networks to your sites is high but those leads aren’t converting into sales, the issue is likely to be somewhere else. You need to have one clear brand message across all of your channels - your website, web content, email, outbound, inbound, Homeward Bound, ALL of those buzzwords.

One final, happier note

Instagress, the spammy auto-comment/follow-unfollow bot service for Instagram, has been closed. So at least that’s one less bad social media practice that we don’t have to worry about.

And you can use relevant hashtags without getting hundreds of bots telling you that your picture of your lunch is “WOW! Inspiring! 😍”.

Social Media News Roundup: April ’17 Week 3

social media news roundup april 17 week 3
In the news this week - major announcements from F8 Facebook Developer Conference and Instagram automation crackdown…
Mind-reading brain-computer typing interface

Perhaps the biggest reveal of Facebook’s F8 conference was the announcement that the company’s immensely secretive Building 8 R&D lab were working on a direct brain-to-computer interface which would allow users to type by thinking. Intentions to create this kind of technology has been hinted to in the past when the research division posted job ads for Brain-Computer Interface Engineers and similar.

Facebook’s vision is to be able to optically scan a human brain 100 times per second and convert that to into text at 100 words per minute - that is five times faster than conventional phone typing. It’s safe to say that this technology is in its (very) early stages but it could one day spell major developments to VR and AR.

Augmented reality developer platform

Facebook announced the launch of an augmented reality camera effects developer platform, allowing outside developers to contribute AR filters to the network. Facebook is clear that allowing developers access to the platform will benefit them by offering a much more diverse array of experiences.

Alongside the options for developers to soon be creating on the AR tool, right now anybody is able to make use of Facebook’s Frame Studio to create image filters that will appear on Facebook Camera to friends or page fans.

AI-powered additions to Facebook insights

Facebook have updated analytics in a way that make it easier for users to monitor important metrics and better appreciate the value of certain insights at a glance. They are integrating machine learning into the platform, opening up new opportunities for granular analysis and monitoring.

At the centre of the updates to Analytics announced at F8 was AI powered automated insights. Engineering manager Amit Finkelstein said this:

“With this new feature, you’ll see insights such as changes in purchases for a new version of your app or variations in engagement across people in different cities. Getting to these insights quickly and in an automated way helps you easily identify where to dig deeper and determine a plan of action.”

Launch of VR hangout platform Spaces

Facebook Spaces, a social VR hangout space, has been launched in beta for Oculus Rift + Touch. It is significant as it is the leading social network’s first significant integration of social virtual reality. into its core product. In the app, up to four friends are able to join a space, draw, chat, watch 360 videos and take VR selfies in a quirky and fun environment.

Messenger bots for groups, Messenger QR codes and bot discovery tab

Facebook has launched three new, significant ways to allow user to find and engage with bots on Messenger. Chat extensions allow users access to Messenger bots in group chats - such as sports ticker bots and collaborative Spotify playlists - whereas the discover tab addresses the discovery issue faced by developers for quite a while. Now users are able to discover “recently used bots [and] popular experiences”.

Facebook have also added new parametric QR codes for Messenger bots. In their newsroom post, they said this:

“Our new parametric QR codes will enable people whenever they are out and about at events, like at basketball games and concerts, to be able to find out more from a bot for Messenger, just by simply scanning the code in the Messenger camera."

Instagram offline mode for Android

Users of Instagram’s Android app have been given an offline mode. At F8 the social network announced it wanted to offer support for using most of its features without internet access and much of this is now available on Android; the preferred device type in the developing world. Instagram say that more is coming in future months and the prospect of an iOS offline version is also in the pipeline.

Could this be partly in response to Snapchat’s CEOs ill-advised comments on their user-ship as a way of Instagram cementing their support for users in developing world? Almost certainly.

Instagram taking the fight to spammy automation software

After months of spammy auto-comments, Instagram are cracking down on fake account activity created by bot software, beginning with the closing of third-party automation service Instagress. Instagress, which allows automatically likes and comments on other photos, was forced to shut down on Thursday. Needless to say, for genuine users the prospect of a mass-exodus of bot activity on Instagram is just terrific.

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