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Archive for Social Media

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.

5 Periscope Users To Avoid Unless You Want Serious Wanderlust

Periscope Travel Users

If you’re the sort of rugged gadabout who would much rather be exploring distant lands than working in an office, you should avoid this article like the plague. Similarly, if your mouth waters at the thought of unfamiliar spices and exotic ingredients rather than the bland, tasteless cuisine of home, you should close this webpage right now. The reason? In a few moments you’ll be either seething with jealousy or totally re-evaluating your life choices….

Of all the social networks out there, Periscope is the one that really smashes it for travel bloggers. It gives users a beautifully unique and instantaneous glimpse into someone else’s life. Travellers want to be totally immersed in the experiences they read about, so a live-streaming app which transports them to distant places deserves oodles of little floating hearts. If you’re not already, it’s time you got on board - hit up Periscope.tv and download it now!

For us, it beats Facebook Live for user experience where the travel industry is concerned. Unlike FB, the platform isn’t littered with other styles of content designed to drag you away, and there aren’t tonnes of different messages battling for your attention, just live streams that take centre stage and speak for themselves. Live-streaming defines the network, and that’s how it should be.

Periscope also happens to play host to some pretty awesome travel accounts. Here are some of our favourites...

Disclaimer: Seriously, if you happen to be a natural born travel lover currently working a desk job, you probably don’t want to watch these users’ scopes right now. You might just end up flipping your desk, marching out with your head held high and hitching a ride into the sunset. Don’t say we didn’t warn you...

Lonely Planet Periscope
Lonely Planet 

Lonely Planet just happen to be the world’s largest publisher of travel guidebooks, and any and all intrepid explorers are likely to have heard of them. Their Periscope channel is exactly what you’d expect, providing users with snapshots of unique locations from around the globe and travel information which is tailored to everyday wanderers.

Johnnyjet Periscope
Johnnyjet

Johnnyjet describes himself as a money-saving travel expert who visits around 20 countries a year. Most travellers find themselves having to battle with a budget whenever they go abroad, and clever planning can help make the process far less stressful and way more rewarding. With Johnnyjet’s streams you can hit two birds with one stone.

Travel Dave Periscope
Travel Dave

Aside from having possibly the coolest travel blogger handle out there, Travel Dave knows adventure. He’s visiting every country in the world and sharing his experiences. So far he’s been to 84 out of a possible 193. Follow him to join his adventure and live those experiences alongside him. He also happens to be a lovely man, which makes his streams all the more delightful.

The Crowded Planet Periscope
The Crowded Planet

The Crowded Planet is the blog from husband and wife team Margherita and Nick, her being the travel writer and he the photographer. They Scope their awesome experiences - from jaw-dropping vistas to unique stays in lighthouses. Any couples out there who love travelling together will pretty soon hold these guys up as ‘relationship goals’.

Todd Dosenberry Periscope
A Travelling Toad

A Travelling Toad is the alias of Todd Dosenberry, a devout member of the wander-clan, who has been using the app as his primary source of live documentation since its launch in March 2015. Followers can expect a mix of his experiences and day-to-day activities as he encourages Q&A sessions.

That’s all from us for now - at least until I pack up and run off into the distance, iPhone in hand. Have any other intrepid explorers you follow on Periscope? We’d love to hear! Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

#SaveTwitter & How Rumours Get Out Of Hand on Social Media

#SaveTwitter rumour

Twitter has unequivocally debunked rumours that the network was going to shut down in 2017 because of abuse received by one user on the network. While we can all rejoice in the fact that everything is still A-okay, it nevertheless raises questions about how quickly lies can spread online...

#SaveTwitter is the perfect example of how little rumours can escalate immensely quickly on social media. While the prospect that Twitter’s response to allegations of abuse would be to call curtains on their billion dollar idea is a little contrived to say the least, that didn’t stop thousands of users getting involved in the trending discussion. By midday on 11th August there were over 100,000 tweets mentioning the hashtag.

On Thursday Twitter denounced the rumour, stating “there is absolutely no truth to the claims whatsoever”. When the hashtag first began trending it was unclear what had sparked it. Gradually what surfaced as the primary reason was that it was all down to one user who had documented a history of cyber-abuse on the network.

While Twitter have undoubtedly been criticized in the past for their responses to issues of cyber-bullying and abusive behaviour, they have never been one to shy away from a challenge. By all means, they’ve spent the last year battling a struggling user growth.

Right now what’s unclear is whether somebody had it out for Twitter, or for Twitter users. If by some stretch of the imagination it is the latter, we need to give that person their due as #SaveTwitter really needed to rely on the gullibility of users in order to succeed - and succeed it most certainly did. But what they didn’t realise was the sheer passion that would be unearthed by users. The reactions helped show how much twitter users value the network.

What will be the next bizarre Twitter rumour? Tweet us. We’ll help you start it - @GiraffeSM.

Shut Up and Listen; this is Social Media

Shut up and listen this is social media

On social media you’re never really more than two steps away from controversy. The reason for this is simple; it’s run by humans. It’s a community populated by people who say, do, and yes, laugh at, silly things. In order to get anything from it, businesses need to integrate themselves by listening and learning how to inspire those people...

Social media is more than just a bulletin board. In order to create a community of advocates for their brand, a business first needs to realise that social networking was never intended to accommodate organisations. It was developed to satisfy the developing needs and priorities of each generation.

Human beings are stubborn about the things that belong to them, and that includes social media. They aren’t going to suddenly start entertaining blatant messages of self-promotion on their turf just because the frequency of them has increased. So to be successful businesses need to adapt their messages in a way that compliments and vitalises these networks.

Passive businesses constantly shouting about sales and offers verges on self-obsession

If you’ll humour me for a moment, I’d like to use a rather strained analogy. You’re walking home after work incredibly hungry and tired when suddenly a man leaps out of a bush and tells you to buy his chicken sandwich. He gives no inclination why, he just seems pretty darn passionate about his sandwich.

Do you buy it? Regardless of how hungry you are, you don’t. Rather, you wonder who this guy is, what’s wrong with the sandwich and why on earth he was lurking in a bush. You either ignore him entirely, run away, or tell him how much of an inconvenience he is for standing in the way of the perfectly good chicken sandwich you already have waiting for you at home. Why? Because you have no idea who he is.

The same is true of some businesses on social media. They are too infatuated by what they can offer that they forget that to people who don’t know them they are just another nuisance chicken-sandwich wielding bush-lurker. Every now and then they need to put their sandwich down, listen to the people around them and offer them something they actually want - not what the business wants them to want.

Telling people about you isn’t the same as encouraging them to get to know you

Most businesses are more than aware of the importance of introducing themselves. The problem is that some don’t quite know the right way to go about this. Take every day social interaction - when you meet a new person it’s the little things they say, the sort of discussions they engage with and their interests that encourage you to form a relationship with them. You’re not best buds from the moment you introduced yourselves.

Social media is no different. The things that you share should be inspiring enough to encourage users to want to engage with you, to want to remember your brand, to want to become your advocate. A list of possible content ideas would be both immeasurable and redundant, as it’s always originality that really takes the biscuit. As a general rule great social media content focuses on people not products, inspiration not integration, and stories, not sales.

Millennials lurking in the shadows

Regardless of whether you think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket because they’ll soon be in charge of things, there’s a reason more and more brands are harking “millennial”. It’s not some defamatory phrase describing vacuous younger people who might prefer not to be clean shaven, or feel more comfortable in shorts than a suit, or (god forbid) like coffee instead of tea - it’s simply a term for a naturally digitally-inclined generation that happen to be a potentially lucrative target audience.

In general, they don’t prefer hand-written sentiments (blame an institutional emphasis on word processing), they like more instantaneous methods of communication of information. This means that they prefer to share the things they like with their peers immediately. Without them, the terms “trending” and “viral” would still merely refer to clothing and illness.

But creating a content mix that entertains, inspires and provokes a response is just the beginning. After that comes the social part. People want to talk to your brand, discuss your campaigns and your products. And you need to be receptive to these comments, as this interaction is what can spell the difference between a user latching onto your brand or becoming disengaged.

There’s a reason we refer to businesses as brands on social media. They’re not some faceless multinational conglomerate; they are simply an organisation personified.

Ask yourself; do you spend too much time talking about what your business does? If so, cut your audience some slack. The likelihood is they already know, or if they don’t they should be able to figure it out just by reading your ‘about us’ section. And if they can’t then that is a much wider issue coming directly from your brand. Every professional knows they should be able to sum up what their business does in a few simple sentences.

Anything social involves a reciprocal discourse, so start listening to your users.

If you fall into the habit of referring to social media as an advertising channel, it’s time to step back. Similarly, if you get it into your mind that it’s a collection of networks built for marketing, give yourself a good slap on the cheek. Yes, social media is partly those things, but above everything it is a community.

If you don’t know what to share, look inward at your organisation. What do your people like? What takes their interest? What inspires them on social networking? Take those things, no matter how foreign they seem to your brand as a whole, and construct an original online voice. Then do the same with your current social media target audience. Listen to them and create content that responds to them.

After that, you can shut shutting up and start to seriously make some noise - the right noise.

Big Social Media Trends: Summer 2016

Top Social Media Trends Summer 2016

In the ever-changing digital landscape, keeping a hold on trends can mean the difference between becoming a real player or your brand vanishing into obscurity. Since the beginning of 2016 developments in app functionality and content capabilities has led to an even-more contested market, with networks vying for the business of big brands, and big brands battling it out to get their content noticed over that of their competitors…

Today’s top social media trends paint a wonderfully diverse picture for the future of social networking for users. With such a huge (seriously, huge) amount of businesses and organisations now actively engaging in social media marketing, it has become even more of a challenge to take advantage of all that it offers. A renewed appreciation and understanding for what makes users tick has led to more investment into the creation of quality, original content and better community management, to the point where both of these things have almost grown to be expected by users.

In short, social media marketing is not “easy” any more, but the potential offered by today’s industry completely eclipses what could be achieved two or three years ago. There are now even more viable avenues for reaching your audience, even more ways to tell rich stories about your brand, even more possibilities to prompt real discussions and foster relationships with real consumers and turn them into advocates.

Let's take a look at some of the biggest social media trends this summer...

Instagram and Snapchat making inroads as social networks

One of the most significant areas for development has been the sites themselves. Smaller apps and networks which never gained much appreciation and were never particularly looked at as a viable channel for marketing in the past have made serious inroads in the social media game. Last year it was simple to direct your attention to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in an order dictated by your target market, but at least two others have joined ranks the ranks of “to be considered”. Instagram and Snapchat each serve a separate purpose, allowing marketers to reach a more diverse cross section of users.

Video content retains its prominence, live gets serious

Video content continues to be the most engaged-with type of content across social media. It’s unsurprising when you consider how accessible a medium it is, and that fact that it requires minimal investment by users for a potentially engaging outcome. Now the live-streaming capabilities of networks have grown immensely and brands have cottoned-on. Facebook Live and Periscope have given organisations an opportunity to offer customers access to unique and exclusive stories.

Human response is more important now than ever

Social media community management is now an industry norm. Users have very high expectations surrounding how responsive business representatives should be on these channels and the extent of customer service they should offer. While Facebook has started to look towards bots for business queries on messenger, users need to feel engaged with on a human level in order to trust and advocate a brand.

Quality, original content topples quantity

It almost goes without saying that quality tops quantity when it comes to social media content, and that has never been more true than it is now. Business users who invest in creating the highest quality original content and spend time carefully crafting everything they post on their channels are the ones who succeed. Frequently posting the same message or promoting products systematically disengages consumers and is detrimental to brands on social media.

Going For Social Media Gold During the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Rio 2016 Olympics Social Media Tips

Social media managers and digital marketers, take note. We are in the midst of another of those all-too-rare moments when a global phenomenon makes the process of getting your brand noticed across the world far simpler - the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

By their very nature, global events and sporting tournaments bring the global community together, encouraging discussions on social media that surpass the normal limitations of day-to-day work. For that reason, they continue to be brilliant avenues for marketing campaigns. The simple act of getting involved in those discussions can be enough to dramatically increase the reach of brands of all shapes and sizes.

In previous tournaments we have seen some companies and organisations really push the boundaries in their campaigns. The London 2012 Olympic Games was something of a turning point for digital marketing - you need only take one look at Coca-Cola’s “Move to the Beat” campaign, which took cross-channel content marketing to another level by using music as a key component in uniting their younger target audience around an inherently social, global event.

Licensed ambush marketing for Rio 2016

One of the most interesting and significant changes that consumers and businesses will be seeing around this year’s games, is that big brands have been given permission to form marketing campaigns around the Olympics, regardless of whether or not they are official sponsors. There are, however, restrictions where this so-called “licensed ambush marketing” is concerned, such as using symbols and mentioning terms such as “gold”.

So where should the priorities of businesses who want to cash in on the games lie? By following a few general guidelines, you can expect to see maximum return on your campaigns…

Embracing the spirit of over-achieving

Your social media campaigns should be completely in-keeping with the spirit of the games. There is something of an agreed rhetoric of positivity; an air of innate ability and motivation to achieve more. It stands to reason that to gain traction alongside other campaigns, your own content will need to share that rhetoric. Social media marketers will be no strangers to motivational content as they already understand the capabilities of positive messages on social networking.

Focussing on real-time events to inspire engagement

The idea of a completely ‘social’ Olympics is one that relies on active participation by users. In order for campaigns to grow, they need to be centred on engaging your target audience. Successful campaigns from the 2012 Olympics showed us that users are no longer content with being spectators of global tournaments - they want to be participants. This means focussing on real-time events as they unfold. Social media has transformed the idea of what’s topical from entire events right down to what’s happening in those events at this precise moment.

All-but forgetting about products

The kind of stories we should be focussing in-on are not at all product-centred. Brands need to instead look at real lives - the people who engage with the games and their journeys. The Olympics is a chance to align your branding with a positive message of togetherness and achievement, not shout about sales.

Wherever you’re based, engaging with the Olympics on social media is a sure-fire way to increase your reach. Any questions? Hit us up - @GiraffeSM.

7 Ways to Fail at Social Media

7 ways to fail at social media

Social media is an asset, but it’s not an easy one. Luckily Giraffe is here to help! Make sure you’re not making these simple mistakes and get on top of the social media game...

A fake voice

An authentic brand voice is infinitely important as this voice creates a sense of honesty and credibility. A Cohne Wolfe study states:

“Nearly nine out of 10 consumers are willing to take action to reward a brand for its authenticity, including 52% who would recommend the brand to others and 49% who would pledge loyalty to the brand. 20% would be prepared to put their money on the table and invest in a brand that proves its authenticity.”

To achieve this authentic tone:

  • Try and keep your posts honest, without sugar-coating any negative factors. If a customer can see that you are honest on social media, they are more likely to think you’re honest in business.
  • Be consistent to your brand, find your tone of voice and stick with it. Don’t try too hard, trying to be ‘down with the kids’ shows exactly how not down with the kids you are.
  • Never attempt to use slang on social media you wouldn’t use in real life.
  • Write like you talk.

Poor Spellcheck

This one really should be a given. Poor spelling and grammar is unprofessional and in this day and age with automatic spell check, a little lazy. Non proof-read posts can result in a lack of trust and credibility which could in turn lose you countless sales.

To make sure your posts are up to scratch:

  • Proof-read.
  • If you struggle with spelling try copying and pasting your posts into Microsoft Word to check for any errors with spellcheck.
  • Read out loud – this usually highlights tricky areas including strange sentence structure, repetition and grammar discrepancies.
  • Ask someone else to proof-read - sometimes a fresh pair of eyes will notice what you can’t.

Politically Incorrect

You may have certain views and you will definitely have opinions, but remember that your social media represents a brand. Being politically incorrect can be viewed as insensitive and offensive and will only serve to alienate certain demographics. Don’t forget, if your personal profile is easily connected to your work profiles, either privatise your accounts or make sure this rule applies there too.

Poor Customer Service

Yes, that guy posting, “You Suck!” on every one of your pictures and posts is irritating, but there is never an excuse to be rude.

  • Any negative comments are an excellent opportunity for great customer service; you just need to know how to deal with them.
  • Auto-response. Everyone knows your auto-response is fake. Sometimes, the auto-response doesn’t even make sense in regards to what it’s ‘responding’ to. Not only does this reduce your credibility, but it makes your followers feel under-valued and ignored.
  • Ignoring customers, whether their comments are good or bad is also a big no-no. Interacting with your followers shows that your business cares and also reminds your customers that you’re human.
  • If tongue-in-cheek is your thing, fine. But remember there is a fine line between cheeky and offensive or distasteful. Be aware of your audience and sensitive to current issues and affairs.
  • Our very own Social Media Manager Sam Faulkner has this to say:

“Ignoring the 'social' part of social media is a big mistake a lot of folk make. Not interacting with people is only going to hurt your reach”.

Wrong sized/poor quality images

Yet again, poor images can look unprofessional and lazy, affecting your credibility. Extend the care and perfectionism you use in every aspect of your business to ensure a high quality profile. Our Social Media Manager Jamie explains the best way to get excellent images:

“I usually go with around 1200x650 for Twitter and Facebook. Though as long as it's above 600 width and a similar ratio it's fine. Instagram is a square 650x650, I try to get photos that are square from the start because cropping a picture down to a square sometimes ruins a picture. However if I do have to edit the size I do it in either Paint.net, Ribbet, Canva [free online resources], or with Photoshop.”

Spamming customers/focusing too heavily on sales

Your number one reason for being on social media is probably to get sales, but you need to be smart about achieving this. Constant self-promotion and endless posting is perceived as ‘spam-like’ and can be incredibly off-putting. Earn the right to promote yourself through providing excellent content; from images, tips and tricks, to insider content and more. Give your followers a reason to keep coming back and a chance to become loyal and engaged.

Resident Social Media Manager Rachel Williams says:

“Posting nothing but repeated sales tweets is a bit like standing in front of stranger at a party saying the same thing over and over again, and expecting them to be interested in getting to know you.”

So what’s the best way to avoid being the annoying guy at the party? While there are many ratios of posting out there, Giraffe are willing to commit to the Golden Ratio by Rallyverse:

  • 30% owned
  • 60% curated
  • 10% promotional

Irrelevant Content

Our Social Advertising and Social Media Manager Naomi says:

“One of my bugbears is not keeping branding and tone consistent throughout accounts. Inconsistency can cause confusion and lead to your audience not being as engaged as they could be.”

Low engagement can result in Facebook categorising your content as irrelevant and limiting the reach. And let’s not forget the all-important credibility; your followers are following you for a reason. If you’re an accounting firm, I doubt they want the update that light-up yo-yos are back in fashion. Know your brand, know your audience and remain true to this.

Points to remember:

  • Memes are only great when they’re relevant. Maintain the authenticity and authority that comes with understanding yourself and your limits. Trying to be hip and funky when you’re not will only emphasise the fact that… you’re not. (Though of course if you are, go ahead!)
  • Retweets are not just space fillers - they need to be consistent with your branding.
  • Be wary of hashtags and fads; just because it’s what’s ‘in’ and what’s being consumed by the masses, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
  • Everything you post is a reflection of your brand.

If any of your questions haven’t been answered, don’t hesitate to tweet us @GiraffeSM. We’re always happy to help!

Written by business development manager, Laurie Fuller

Hyperlapse: Using Time Lapse Videos to Build your Instagram

Using Hyperlapse to build your Instagram

Over the past year Instagram has made some serious inroads as a market-leader in social networking. Their significant re-brand back in April took a great deal of people by surprise and was met with widespread criticism, but since then it seems those naysayers have been all but silenced by developments that meet the needs of user and businesses alike…

While you might not necessarily have noticed it, Instagram’s user growth has been rather astounding over the past year - especially when looked at alongside Twitter’s, which has been nothing short of sluggish. Sure there were one or two fanfares when Instagram hit half a billion users in June, but what was touted as a positive by the network - that over 80 percent of the community were from outside the US - may have caused US based marketers to shy away from sharing in that milestone. Why? Simply because when they hit 400 million users that was only 75 percent.

Regardless it’s certainly something that users outside the states can cheer about - and besides, the stall in the US is most likely just down to Snapchat-crazed teens preferring the finite network over Instagram. Instagram is a speeding train that businesses serious of marketing themselves in a digital age need to get on board.

Instagram’s shift to (and for) user content

The driving force behind the full re-brand, and every update that has come since, has been user content. As a network they continually show that they have a solid grasp of what makes their network individual - the stories and moments shared by their users. It has always been inherently content-driven. Okay, so that may seem like a sweeping generality as every social network requires content, but I’m referring to a sense of what primarily ignites dialogues within each network - whereas that might be controversial comment on Twitter or trending content from organisations on Facebook, with IG it’s primarily user-generated content.

Aware of what makes their users tick and what drives engagement, they have been quick to expand capabilities in-line with that. Video is an ideal case and point. Until recently, users on Instagram have been limited to sharing 15 second videos on the network. In March this year that all changed as they begun to allow average users to upload 60 second videos, a capability that was originally reserved for advertisers.

Time lapse videos are just a joy to watch as they show off patterns that we might not otherwise see in everyday life, offering a unique and mesmerising perspective. Because of this they can certainly add a touch of diversity to the content on your Instagram feed. Hyperlapse from Instagram was first released last year as a standalone time lapse video app which majorly simplifies the process of creating time lapses with the use of a unique stabilisation algorithm. Instagram's version is only available for iOS, but a similar app is offered by Microsoft for Android.

Using Hyperlapse as part of your Instagram content strategy

We encourage businesses to make use of different types of content to add a touch of variety to your social media marketing strategy. This gives you valuable insights into the sort of content that your audience in particular react well to. Hyperlapse should be up there with Boomerang and good-quality image creation apps.

Producers and companies that create things

Companies and organisations that create products could use Hyperlapse to create unique behind-the-scenes time lapses of their products being produced. Artists and sculptors readily make use of time lapse videos to offer a different perspective of how their art is created. This should be no different for any other business that makes things - from shop-floor to hand-made producers such as luthiers or potters. "Behind the scenes" content that gives users access to otherwise unseen parts of your business works really well to drive engagement as it makes users feel part of an exclusive group of advocates for your brand.

Making use of your local area

Local businesses should use Hyperlapse to create time lapse videos of their local area. This is a great way to encourage engagement by local consumers - the precise target audience that you want to get engaging with your social channels. On the other end of the spectrum, users who haven't necessarily visited your area are likely to show a certain amount of interest; that aspect of discovery is what makes content-focused social networks thrive.

 

#hyperlapse the Neighborhood A video posted by NYC | New York City (@nyc) on

Events professionals, creatives and performers

Events professionals can use Hyperlapse to offer users an enticing look/sneak-peek at their event. For creatives and performers on Instagram, Hyperlapse can offer unique perspectives of rehearsals, collaboration or performances. In many cases it can also be used purposefully to create an individual dance or performance piece - check out the example below by @pedestrianwanderlust...

 

Hyperlapse is a great tool for building your Instagram strategy that helps to enliven your content and offer users a different look at your brand. How do you use Hyperlapse? We'd love to hear. Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

iPhone Apps to Help You Create Beautiful Images On-the-go

Top Free Photo Editing Apps

Content is the cornerstone of many social media channels, and photo content boasts some of the highest engagement rates out there. However, it can sometimes be difficult to keep on top of graphic creation when you’re on-the-go - that’s why we put together this list of some of our favourite iPhone Apps...

Canva

When Canva first announced their iOS app we were quickly transformed into barrels of giddy anticipation and joy. As our go-to web-tool for image content creation, Canva has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to create good quality graphics simply and efficiently. Understandably, it is currently slightly more challenging to get the same results on the iPhone app as it is on a desktop or laptop due to having to make adjustments by touch on a smaller screen. Regardless, being able to produce graphics for social media on the go is certainly a plus point in our book.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express has had something of a bad press since it’s release, with early review scores not necessarily as high as one would expect from Adobe. However this may have something to do with users comparing it to the eclipse-all features available on the full desktop software. As the name suggests, Photoshop Express is intended to offer basic image editing. In this task Adobe have done very well indeed, creating a sleek app that making use of tools, effects, filters and adjustments, and offers some premium options too, making it many an iPhone users' choice for on-the-go editing.

Prisma

Prisma has quickly caught on among social media users. A sleek hybrid between traditional filter apps and ye-olde cartoonize effect of Windows 98, it boasts an in-built selection of around thirty filters, a great deal of which mimic the style of famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol. Yes, realistically it is yet another app that uses filters to create psychedelic photos, but due to a reportedly adaptable AI independent to each filter the results are nothing short of outstanding. It’s a good idea to note that Prisma adds watermarks to any images that you create by default - this can easily be switched off by unticking “Enable Watermarks” on the app’s settings tab.

Pokémon Photo Booth

With the current Pokémon Go craze showing little sign of slowing, creating images on Pokémon Photobooth is a sure-fire way to get some engagement on your social media content. A very simple app that uses overlays from the original Gameboy game, Pokémon Photobooth is easy enough to use that images can be knocked up quickly enough to be used as a witty response to Pokémon based social media interaction.

Google Street View

Although not strictly a photo editing app, the advantages of taking 360 pictures and photospheres on Google Street View are pretty convincing. Firstly it allows you to geotag your photo on Google Maps, which for businesses is a great way to get your brand out there to people using the app to discover new places. Secondly it automatically saves a version of your images to your Camera Roll, which can come in really useful for other networks.

PicsArt

PicsArt is a worthy contender for being the go-to photo editing app on-the-go. It offers a whole host of different tools for photo editing and enhancement. Shooting within the app also offers a great deal of benefits including manual focus and some creative/textural filters. It also boasts a well designed, easy to use interface that will be welcome to any iPhone user used to struggling with clunky editing apps.

LittleMoments

Far be it from me to use this word, but for all intents and purposes LittleMoments in nothing short of “sweet”. Perhaps not one for users who prefer the advanced capabilities of Canva or PicsArt, nevertheless LittleMoments offers a simple way to add text to your images, alongside some basic photo tools and filters.

Over

Over offers users a simple and sleek approach to social media graphic creation. Features include basic image alteration (size, opacity and rotation), and text-based artwork overlays. It also boasts a direct pathway to CC0 images from Unsplash, so you won’t have to go hunting for free for commercial images if you want to use your graphics commercially.

Foodie

What to do when everyone insists on snapping photos of their food? Make an app dedicated to snapping photos of food of course! Foodie is basically a collection of pre-loaded filters designed to compliment different types of food and moods, perfect if that’s your piece of cake (see what we did there?). Users can also use it to create videos.

Layout, Boomerang & Hyperlapse

Seeing as all three were created as complimentary/add-on apps for their photo sharing giant Daddy Instagram, Layout, Boomerang and Hyperlapse all boast very similar interfaces to IG. Layout offers a very easy to use (and seriously welcome) alternative to the ad-ridden pic-collage, Boomerang gives users the ability to create hilarious little looping Gifs, and Hyperlapse is a fantastic time-lapse video creator. We recommend them all in equal measure, as they give Instagram users different options for content.

Have a iPhone Photo Editing App that you swear by? We’d love to hear! Tweet us - @GiraffeSM.

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