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Vine App May Have a Future After All

Twitter in sales talks Vine

Vine, the micro-video sharing app, may well survive oblivion after all. Announcements were made last month that Twitter would be discontinuing the mobile app. Now it seems that multiple companies have approached the social network vying to purchase Vine, including a number from Asia.

While details of the bidders remains a closely guarded secret, information provided by TechCrunch suggest that among those rumored was a Japanese messaging and gaming company LINE. Further research uncovered that Twitter is likely to have narrowed their pool of potential purchasers from 10 down to 5,

Rumours suggest that a proportion of the offers are below the $10 million mark, meaning that Twitter is unlikely to generate significant revenue from its sale unless the right buyer is found.  To put that into perspective, The New York Times recently reported that the running costs of Vine in terms of infrastructure and employees was over $10 million a month and had considered selling it off to cut costs.

Upon announcement of Twitter’s intention to do away with the app, an FAQ page appears giving more detail about what exactly would happen to the network. It stated that it intended on eventually shutting down the app but retaining an archive of all current Vines playable, while giving users the option to download their content.

Now it appears Twitter have gone quiet regarding the future of Vine - an unsurprising move with it being in current talks about its sale. Ideally, we would imagine the ideal purchaser would be someone who intends on retaining, to a certain extent, an integration between in and the social network as Vines remain a highly-regarded style of content that commands a large amount of engagement by users.

Much speculation has been made regarding the future of the network since the announcement of its discontinuation. Only time will tell as to what destiny has in store for the app.

6 Tips for Repurposing Content to Impact More Networks

Repurposing Content

Every piece of content you produce has the capacity to have an impact on multiple social networks; it's all about repurposing content. This is one of the simplest ways to increase your campaigns’ capacities for engagement and success. And it’s one we just don’t take enough advantage of.

The content we produce is often a lot more versatile than we give it credit for. While it might seem that all you have is an article on a specific subject, in reality you have the groundwork of a theme. Aspects of your blog content can and should be drawn out, teased apart and remodelled to create different post types and features. That is what's known as repurposing content. And it’s not just for anything new you write - these concepts can just as easily be applied to your old evergreens.

It’s important to note that there is little point in spending too much time repurposing content that is finite news content - only in the short term if you are looking for large scale promotion in one go. Evergreen content is simply any type of content that doesn’t expire in relevancy in the short term - something that is continually relevant and useful for readers.

Repurposing content has the added effect of reaching a new audience. When you decide only to focus on one particular style you inadvertently limit your reach to a particular subset of your target audience. This is simply because, while each industry and business will likely have a preferential network, different styles of content will be more visually appealing to each different person.

Repurposing content helps give your blog articles the maximum amount of promotional chances for success. The more (quality) original posts you create, the higher the likelihood of gaining unique hits on your blog, the bigger the benefit to your digital marketing as a whole.

Repurpose snippets and quotes as social media posts

This can be particularly useful for facts, figures and statistics. In fact, any textual snippet that is interesting and eye-catching should be used as a promotional technique on social networking. Influence more click-throughs to your blog from Twitter by leveraging those statistics as singular elements in tweets. When you do this, be sure to include a link through to the full article.

Create feature graphics

Take the above tip one step further by creating feature graphics as shareable, accessible highlights. This visual content not only performs far better on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also allows users to take advantage of visual networks such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Create an infographic

Apologies if it comes as a surprise, but it is highly unlikely that anybody will truly read your content in its entirety. By consolidating all of your findings into an accessible, visual medium like an Infographic you make it easier for users to digest. These perform particularly well on Pinterest, and also look great as an additional feature on your article itself.

Do a live webinar/Q&A on the subject

We’re living in the era of Live. No longer do businesses have to invest in expensive equipment to broadcast live on a subject. Periscope and Facebook Live make it incredibly easy for brands to repurpose their content as a Q&A, webinar or expert advice session.

Create video tutorials or an ongoing podcast on your weekly content

One type of content that performs better than straight-up visual is video. If you are considering starting out on YouTube then a great place to start is by repurposing your weekly content into tutorials. Obviously, to be successful a change of tone will likely be required. Alternatively, an audio podcast can be a great way to develop your digital marketing - you already have yourself some written content to use, just one or two tweaks and you can get going.

Amalgamate content into whitepapers and how-to guides

A great way to repurpose content, albeit one that can take a little more time, is to amalgamate a selection of articles on different aspects of the same theme into one singular whitepaper or e-book. These resources can be particularly useful tools for building your email marketing database. Make them useful and high quality and your audience will happily sign-up to your newsletter in order to receive them.

10 Tips to Help Supercharge Your Editorial Calendar

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Tips

One of the most important but commonly disregarded aspects of a content marketing strategy is the editorial calendar. Any successful digital marketing strategy requires robust planning and understanding. An editorial calendar gives clear and coherent steps to creating a fully fledged strategy across board - and not just relying on flights of fancy for posts.

Sadly, by their very nature, editorial calendars and content marketers don’t often go together well. This is simply because the vast majority of writers tend to be creatives - and quite often these minds are prone to fits of creativity. Planning, although highly regarded and very much appreciated by them, may not be in their nature. Alternatively, if you’re lucky enough to be in the minority that have cracked the code to amalgamating preparation and inspiration, we salute you - but there are always steps that can be taken to improve your current processes.

Editorial calendars should be well respected in the world of content marketing. They allow for integrity and consistency in a strategy that will benefit both your short term and long term campaign goals. While they might be seen to be a limiter, often the reality is that the role they take is one of guidance, ensuring, among other things, that each separate post or aspect is aligned with your campaign.

Editorial calendars also enable content creators to delve deeper into what they are going to write about. The angle that they offer can often play a crucial part in deciding how your content sways; when you have a certain niche that you have to look through while researching you can find new and different ways of approaching a subject.

How editorial calendars can differ in function

Editorial calendars vary immensely from industry to industry, business to business, marketer to marketer, and depend wholeheartedly on what is included in each strategy. They can even go full scale to include absolutely all social media posts, interactions, and internal and external blog postings. At this point, they can start to look closer to a workflow management system. If this is what you are on the lookout for, we would suggest looking towards software like Asana.

Our personal recommendation for the function of editorial calendars is that they should be used to plan each of your blog posts from research through to publishing. This should include the production of the articles themselves, keyword research findings, purpose analysis and, importantly, the inclusion of an acceptable KPI. You should also include promotion details such as what social networks and communities you plan on sharing it with.

Are your editorial calendars really up to scratch?

The best way to layout an editorial calendar is in a spreadsheet style that is accessible and easy to follow. Chances are that there are some steps you can take to improving your editorial calendars, and we hope that this article works as a springboard for additions to your current processes. We’ve broken down a selection of best practice tips for editorial calendars as a place to start and ideas for columns on your spreadsheet:

1. Chosen headlines: Obviously it is important to include headlines for each of your chosen blog posts, however it is a good idea to think these up in advance. A great post headline can be the difference between a successful article and one that fails to hit where it should. If you are struggling to write headlines that incite enough interest to gain clicks, take a look at  CoSchedule’s Headline Analyser.

2. A (brief) brief: Ensure you include a few sentences on what your article should include. Unless it feels right for you, we wouldn’t necessarily suggest including pages of research as an editorial calendar should be accessible, succinct and usable. Just enough to tell yourself, management or a client the kind of thing that your articles will include.

3. Full-scale timings: Choose timings for each part of your editorial calendar. Dates of when you will produce, proof and publish each article, alongside any research you have about the best times to post on your website for traffic.

4. Keyword research findings: If SEO is a big factor in your content marketing strategy, this step cannot be overlooked. Research the most/least contested keywords for your industry and for the topic you are covering and take note to ensure you make use of them.

5. Campaign details & post purpose: Make note of how each post will fit into your overall campaign and the part it will play.

6. Graphic details: Good blog posts always include graphics. While you don’t have to create them beforehand, keeping details of the kind of thing you think will work will help you when you get to that point further down the line.

7. Target audience findings: This is another piece of information that will play a big part in the tone of your articles. Be sure you know exactly who you are writing for.

8. CMS details: Content marketing is about way more than just creating a great piece of writing and hoping it sticks. Be sure to include as much detail about your blogging/CMS platform as possible; categories, tags, SEO details, meta data etc.

9. Social media promotion plan: A good content marketing strategy can only be as good as it's promotion will allow. Certain posts work for certain networks only. Be sure to plan where you will posts in advance as this will effect the style you opt for.

10. Your own KPI: Be sure to include a KPI in line with your overall goals. Everything you do will be accountable to this, so make sure it relates to what you want to achieve.

Another Facebook Live Fallacy

Facebook Live News

Facebook Live has yet again become subject of controversy as a pre-recorded video was shown under the guise of being live, through the network’s live video platform.

The reputedly pre-recorded not-live “live” video in question was that of a sky-high maintenance job; somebody changing a lightbulb on a 609 metre high tower. This “live-video” (but not live) was simultaneously hosted by the Facebook pages Interestinate and USA Viral.

It didn’t take long for users to spot that the video, marketed as both live and four hours long, was neither of those two things. It was in fact a looped 18 minute video that was first posted on YouTube back in September 2015.

Facebook Live has been subject of a number of controversies in recent months, including live broadcasts of killings in France and the battle for Mosul by Channel 4 News. However, the main thing that critics are taking issue with is the fact that Facebook has technically promoted and brought millions of views to something by marketing it as something that it isn’t. This is the exact type of misinformation that the social networking giant have been trying to rid itself of in recent years.

In many ways, fingers can’t be pointed at the perpetrators - these are simply publishers making use of the tools available to them to the best of their ability. It is Facebook who, in their infinite wisdom, have given preferential treatment to those creating “original” content, while failing to ensure that such content is truly what it says it is.

Facebook’s intentions are admirable - they want to increase the accessibility and frequency of high-quality, worthy content for their users. But something has to be done to ensure publishers are abusing these tools. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Instagram Tests New Instant Shopping Feature

Instagram Tests Shopping Feature

Instagram have started to test new features which could allow users to instantly purchase their favourite products direct from the social network. Ready to roll out on US iOS devices in the next week, the test will involve adding a ‘Shop Now’ call to action button on product posts by a selection of American retailers.

The photo sharing network are displaying their intentions to meet the demands of e-commerce business users by experimenting with new ways to connect shoppers with their favourite brands. If successful, it could completely change how and where advertisers invest their social media marketing budget.

In recent years Instagram has rapidly become the go-to social network for marketing by fashion and beauty brands. It’s emphasis on content-driven influencer marketing makes it the ideal platform for leveraging the purchasing-power of users. In regards to the new feature, a post on Instagram’s Business Blog describes how the test will work and the reasons behind it:

             Most mobile shopping experiences today take people from the shop window right to check out-without giving consumers the opportunity to consider a product… in an internal survey, we learned that the vast majority of purchases take a day or longer, with only 21% of purchases made within a day. Knowing that Instagrammers are open to discovery on the platform, and that people take time to better understand the products that they’re interested in, this test gives our community valuable steps along their shopping journey before they make a purchase.

The test phase will only be available to US based users and will include a selection of twenty different retailers, including Kate Spade, Warby Parker and JackThreads. Instagram isn’t the only network honing in on e-commerce in recent weeks; their big sister Facebook recently unveiled Marketplace. They have also announced tests to pages such as allowing restaurant delivery and other purchases direct from the app/site, while YouTube and Pinterest have been eager to entice retailers into investing their Christmas product advertising budget on their network.

Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: Instagram are serious about becoming a key competitor in the collision of social networking and ecommerce. Check out the video below to see how the new feature will work for retailer Kate Spade.


Source: Kate Spade from Instagram for Business on Vimeo.

Community Management Mistakes That Will Alienate Your Audience

Community management mistakes to make

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

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

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

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

Be sure to respond in a timely fashion

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

Listen and respond correctly

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

Sound like a human being - have some fun

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

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

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

The Next Macbooks Could Include E-Ink Keyboards

Macbook e-ink keyboard rumours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram Introduces Mental Health Support Tools

Instagram Introduces Suicide Prevention Tools

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

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

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

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

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

Ensuring Social Media Security

Social Media Security

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

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

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

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

Direct issues with social networks

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

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

Your social media policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Integrating Stories into Your Instagram Strategy

Instagram Stories Strategy

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

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

The what and why of Instagram Stories

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

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

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

Interaction enables Instagram Stories to do more

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

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

Instagram Stories offer insight into interaction and engaged followers

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

Big implications for trans-media and user-integrated marketing

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

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

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