Archive for Social Media

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.

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.

Instagram Adds “Save Draft” Feature

Instagram Adds Save Draft Feature

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook and Twitter Join News and Eyewitness Media Coalition

Facebook and Twitter Join News Coalition

Facebook and Twitter have become confirmed partners in a new coalition of news organisations committed to tackling misinformation on social networking, and improving the quality of reporting across media.

Organised and announced by the Google-backed First Draft News, the coalition is an expansion into a new partner network intended to “tackle issues of trust and truth in reporting information that emerges online”.

Originally formed in June 2015, with support from Google News Lab, and developed with its founding members to ‘raise awareness and standards around the use of newsworthy information and eyewitness media sourced from the social web’, it now boasts a partner list of influential news organisations including: The New York Times, Channel 4 News, The Telegraph, Agence France-Presse and Aljazeera Media Network.

In the announcement, First Draft managing director Jenni Sargent shared the vision for the partner network:

“There is a thriving community of specialists working around the world who have developed and honed social newsgathering and verification skills… With the launch of this partner network, First Draft brings these people together to work on ideas and initiatives, including a train-the-trainer programme, the launch of a collaborative verification platform, and the creation of a voluntary code of practice.”

Facebook inclusion in the partner list has significantly positive implications for both the coalition and the site itself. The social networking giant is fundamental to the distribution and gathering of news but has come under fire for being a contributing factor to the spread of erroneous information and bogus news stories. The partner network is intended to streamline the process of verification of information, particularly with eyewitness media, giving tech companies a central port to improve newsgathering and the quality of reporting across social web.

Áine Kerr is Facebook’s journalism partnerships manager. She believes that the network will give them a platform to showcase the products and tools they have built for journalists, whilst giving them another opportunity to learn and improve. She commented:

“We want to ensure we are building opportunities to learn from the industry and to ensure we continually hear their questions and feedback.”

Instagram Comments and How to Respond to Them

Responding to Instagram Comments

Over the past few years we’ve seen a change in the way that users view particular social networks. As the primary reasons why they visit each particular network shifts, so too do businesses need to alter how they market within those networks. In this endeavour some companies struggle; looking at why their audience are active somewhere, not just where they are active.

And it’s an understandable struggle because those reasons are always changing.

While it continues to eclipse its contenders in terms of total numbers of users and name recognition, at the moment Facebook is not the number-one choice for users looking to share snapshots of their own lives and engage with that of their friends and family. This owes in part to its position as the most popular medium for B2C businesses to market to their audience, but it’s also down to the nature of newly developed trending and viral content discovery tools.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing that users wouldn’t choose to use Facebook for this particular reason, as the communication and video discovery aspect of Facebook has taken more prominence for the time being. A subset of users are turning to less traditional more “personal” networks for this sort of action, in particular Instagram. (That’s another reason why it’s not necessarily a bad thing - Facebook own Instagram and content is often automatically posted to Facebook anyway.)

With Instagram now seen in this totally human, completely authentic light, businesses need to interact in kind or risk ruining it for everybody.

Responding to Instagram comments

An endeavour that businesses need to be embracing in far more readily on Instagram is responding to comments. Interaction is the cornerstone of growth and the kindling for engagement. Yet many allow it to be swept under the carpet - the very same companies who wouldn’t dare ignore a Facebook comment or a tweet.

Instagram is driven by the lives of individuals, their brand is built on the real-life stories that these people share. Getting serious about their strategy starts with businesses and organisations getting human and social. Look at the tips below and consider how you could alter your current responses for the best results:

Weighing up comments and responding justly

When users comment on your Instagram content you should always consider the right way to respond. Instagram is awash with single-emoji response-style comments. As a general rule you shouldn’t respond to all of these otherwise, as your account grows and frequency of these increases, you risk having a far too many of your own words hanging around the place.

When it comes to longer comments, discipline yourself to notice genuine praise and positivity from users. Responding to these is where you can really unlock the potential of Instagram interaction. Always acknowledge and express your gratitude, use open comments and look inspire a discussion with this user. As others see how you engage with people who take the time to interact with you they will feel encouraged to do the same.

Bear in mind that some Instagram automation services are a lot cleverer than you think, particularly Instagress. If a comment seems positive, yet a little unclear, chances are it’s automated. Consider these comments in relation to the image and ensure they actually make sense before bothering to respond.

Never ignore a negative comment

This number one rule should stand for all of your social pages. Always respond to negative comments. For a more in-depth look into how to do that, check out our article on how to deal with negativity on social media.  A general rule is to consider how people see your brand. Try to see things from the user’s perspective even if the particular issue isn’t your fault entirely.

Whereas other networks might allow you to reach out and sort any issues there and then, Instagram simply doesn't have enough space for this kind of resolution, os it’s worth reaching out and encouraging them to contact in a more private medium - just ensure that the issue is swiftly rectified afterwards, otherwise you will just exacerbate things.

Say an unequivocal ‘no’ to spamming and bots

Bots and spam help absolutely nobody. Help Instagram get rid of them by reporting and blocking users who spam you with comments and mentions. If they tag you in spam content, click the settings button in the top right hand corner above the image and remove it, then report and block the user.

Be part of the community

Above anything else, Instagram is a community of content creators, sharing their experiences and engaging with that of other people. Integrate your business or organisation by doing just that - be human, share snapshots of your work life, engage with relevant people and respond to anybody who reaches out to you. This is where things start to build and brand recognition gets elevated to new heights.

LinkedIn Announces Conversion Tracking Capabilities

LinkedIn announces conversion tracking

In a move to make the network more appealing for advertisers, LinkedIn yesterday announced the introduction of conversion tracking capabilities for LinkedIn Campaign Manager. The new features will allow marketers access to better insights into their Sponsored Content and Text Ads campaigns, giving them a greater understanding of what the most valuable is in relation to their specific goals.

This week the most popular professional social network announced conversion tracking on a post on their Marketing Solutions blog. The new features have been introduced in response to the wide amount of requests by customers for more in-depth insight into the success of their LinkedIn ad campaigns.

Most notably, marketers have been requesting features that allow them to garner a greater understanding of which sections of their audience are driving campaign conversion, an insight which conversion tracking is cited to give. According to their announcement, it will give audience insights based on a number of factors including company size, industry, seniority and job function.

Having already been piloted with over 200 different advertisers, conversion tracking will also give users a far more accurate and accessible measure for a variety of different results, including lead generation, purchases, content downloads and sign-ups. These insights benefit advertisers by allowing them the ability to optimise their campaigns through the use of data for even better results.

Three particular positives were highlighted in the post...

Track the metrics that matter the most:
Easily track website conversions from your LinkedIn programs… [allowing you to] understand your LinkedIn advertising ROI, conversion count, cost-per-conversion, conversion rate and more…

Record every conversion, every time:
Track conversions from desktop and mobile, whether members converted after clicking on -- or after just viewing -- one of your ads.

Optimise your campaigns to drive even better performance:
Monitor the specific campaigns, ads, and the nature of the audiences that are driving conversions…

The announcement comes little under a month after news of the social network’s sale to Microsoft for $26.2bn, and is evidence that LinkedIn are serious about becoming the go-to social media marketing solution for B2B businesses.

How to Optimise Your Facebook Content for Reach

How to optimise your Facebook content for reach

If there’s one precursor to successful social media marketing, it's having a consistently good reach for your posts. By its very nature, social media is a form of community-based marketing which relies on generating hype and dialogue between real people. To get started, your messages need to be reaching the right people...

Optimising for reach is often looked at as somewhat enigmatic. The culprit here may be the seemingly complicated algorithms used by social networks, particularly Facebook, which cap the rate of content exposure by perceived relevance. But just because it can be difficult, doesn’t mean it can be overlooked. On the contrary, it’s a challenge which needs to be overcome in order to unlock each network’s full potential.

Optimising any social media content strategy is a system of trial and error. This is simply because no two audiences, industries or businesses are the same, so there cannot be a catch-all method for success. Social media marketers should be constantly trialling different styles of campaign in order to see what is most successful and which variations result in the biggest reaction for their accounts.

While there isn’t a secret formula for maximising your reach, there are certainly some points to take on board which are likely to guide your content in the right direction…

Audience growth isn’t really audience growth unless it’s your audience

While it might seem counterintuitive, in both the preliminary and advanced stages of social media marketing, businesses should be wary about how they grow their social media audience. The idea that anybody would pay for followers may well seem ridiculous now, but it does still happen and there’s a reason that should be avoided at all costs.

For your organic reach to grow, you need to be growing an organic, engaged audience. While purchased followers may have the delightfully pointless aesthetic effect of inflating your follower/like count, they are by no means going to help you grow your account. On the contrary, an influx of low-quality profiles can actually be a hindrance in the long-run. These aren’t followers who will engage or interact with your content or advocate your brand to a larger audience, they are just numbers that keep your reach rate right down.

Remind your audience why they followed you

While the case for organically growing an engaged audience is truly insurmountable, something that matters just as much is consistency. While a follower might be active in the first place often they will soon forget why they followed you and become less of an asset to you.

To keep those people active and encourage them to always advocate your content and share it among their wider community (bang; reach), you need to make sure you continually feed them a healthy dose of whatever it was that made them respond to your campaigns in the first place. If you successfully monitor your campaigns, this should happen naturally. As you will notice which posts are earning the most engagement and the biggest influx of new followers - these are the formats which should be replicated.

Think visually with your content

Many people would tell you it’s a good idea to use more visual content on your social media. We go one step further - never post anything that isn’t accompanied by some form of visual content (graphic, photo, video, live video, etc.) Social media users are 44 percent more likely to engage with visual content - set yourself a precedent that does not allow for anything less.

Your brand might have to sound different on Facebook

Certain types of business and organisation may have to alter their brand voice. Facebook posts which have a conversational and casual tone tend to get a far better reaction than those using corporate language - a simple concept when you consider that it is a platform which was intended to be social above all else.

The AI that can Spot Markers of Depression in Instagram Photos

The AI that can spot markers of depression in Instagram photos

A team of researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont have developed an AI program which can identify clinical depression in Instagram users at an accuracy rate of 70 percent- just by looking at their posts.

The new machine learning program was reportedly applied to monitor and analyse the content on 166 separate Instagram profiles, with a combined 43,950 different images. According to the study, published by Andrew G. Reece and Christopher M. Danforth, the AI program analyses content to detect specific potential indicators of depression.

Alongside an analysis of metadata, the system studies aspects such as colour, and uses facial recognition to imitate personal assessment. By looking at earlier studies, the team were able to deduce that depressed individuals often opted for darker, greyer colour-scales.

Other factors included an examination of posting rates and a look at the sort of engagement generally received. According to previous investigations, depressed individuals often received a low rate of likes next to a higher proportion of comments.

The study says this:

“Using only photographic details, such as colour and brightness, our statistical model was able to predict which study participants suffered from depression, and performed better than the rate at which unassisted general practitioners typically perform during in-person patient assessment.”

[An analysis of earlier studies found general practitioners correctly diagnosed depression at a rate of 42 percent.]

As a comparison study, the group also had a selection of participants (unaware that the study was linked to identifying depression) rate each photograph, in order to better gauge how the average person is able to spots depression markers in Instagram photos. The same machine learning system was also applied to photos only posted before each individual was diagnosed, which performed at a successful diagnosis rate of over 50%.

Although the system is still in its infancy, with one or two shortcomings, it is nevertheless a solid foundation for subsequent models.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 38

Contact us

Get in touch and claim your FREE proposal today

Just want to have a chat?

Phone: 02392 819051
Address: Unit 3, 373/375 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 4QG