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Making the Most of the Festive Season

Making the Most of the Festive Season
Your company’s office may be decorated with the tallest Christmas tree and brightest baubles, but your brand will gain nothing from beautiful décor in the working environment. It’s time to get digital and turn your spirit for the festive season to your social media.

The Christmas season is one of the busiest times for businesses, and consequently for social media. Therefore, it’s difficult to get your brand noticed during the festive season, but with the right content, campaigns and strategy a business can optimise their social media to get the most out of the jovial period.

Change Your Logos

Editing your Facebook profile and cover photo to include a festive aspect, such as snowy graphics or your logo with a Santa's hat on, shows you’re current and makes your page friendly and inviting. Research showed that people thought residents with Christmas decorations up were more approachable and welcoming than those who didn’t. The same applies with your social media - it draws attention to your page and lets your audience know your active and the page is up-to-date.

Festive Campaigns

Christmas is a time when everyone is searching on the Internet, looking for products, services and gifts. If your company is releasing a new product for the festive season, tweets and posts that tease consumers of your new release will keep people engaged, until you finally begin to sell it. On Twitter and Instagram, engage with popular Christmas hashtags or create a festive hashtag of your own that followers can interact with.

Also, if your company is running any charity events or Christmas-themed activities it would be fantastic to post about these too. It'll make your company appear more personal and human and give your audience a chance to see your business behind the posts and photos.

Seasonal Strategy

Create a strategy and plan your posts and content ahead. Create a calendar to schedule content around your campaign with the question ‘How can my service or product benefit people at Christmas?’ always in mind. Think how your business will improve someone’s life, especially around the Christmas period. If you can’t think of a reason, this is when deals and offers could come in handy. Promotions such as free next day delivery or 50% off would help a lot of customers struggling with the economic issues and work stress induced by the festive period. Remember to always have your audience in mind. For example, followers of restaurants could benefit from vouchers with deals to get them through the door, whereas commercial businesses such as online clothing stores would gain advantage over their competition with discount codes and promotions that reduce the price of products and speed up delivery time.

Christmas Content Marketing

If your business has blog content, it is important that this too is centred around the festivities or at least partly related to Christmas. Content marketing is a great way to stand out from the competition, with articles that can be engaged with and shared amongst social media. For instance, restaurants and online grocery shops could share Christmas recipes that include their own products. However, competition grows around the season and it is important to stand out among the digital crowd. It is no good writing an article that has been written a thousand times before. Find out what is being searched, but focus on a more specific title and subject. For example, ‘Recipes for Christmas Food’ could become ‘Recipes for Vegan Christmas Food’, which would narrow down the search for a consumer and give your article and website a higher chance at being seen on Google. Tags in the article should include ‘Christmas’ and festive keywords that relate to your business and USP.

Email Marketing

Email marketing campaigns are an important way for your current audience to learn about the deals and promotions your business is carrying out around Christmas. You can send email campaigns that include gift cards, discount codes and vouchers that customers can use to purchase your products.

Adding festive season sparkle to your brand can benefit your social media immensely. Tis' the season to engage, interact and spread the Christmas cheer...digitally.

Social Media News Roundup: December ’17 Week 2

Social Media News
In social media news this week, Facebook asks the questions we all want to know, Twitter gets a new look in virtual reality and Instagram makes disappearing pictures a thing of the past.
Facebook – Did You Know?

Thought you knew everything about your friends? Facebook begs to differ with its new ‘Did You Know’ feature. It’s a new section that lets you answer questions about yourself. This gives users the chance to find out more about a person than what their profile states. The feature has a series of personal questions, such as “What’s the most delicious meal you’ve ever had?” that a user can answer – these will appear on the person’s profile so that a follower can click through to see the response. A user can click through questions to find the ones they want to answer with a format that resembles a status. We wonder how long it will be until other users can ask personal questions!

Twitter In VR

A new app called TweetReality puts the world of Twitter into virtual reality. The augmented version of reality takes your Twitter feed and puts it in a 3D grid. You can make your own tweet, explore other users' posts and receive notifications with your surroundings in the background by using your iPhone camera. Although it is quite basic, the app is an idea that will be furthered as virtual reality develops. Imagine seeing a concert or television show and being able to tweet about exactly what you’re seeing with your followers viewing a visual representation too – you’d never truly be tweeting or living alone.

Disappearing photos? That’s so last year…

In light of the new year, Instagram have added two new features to their app that means images and videos on the Stories section do not disappear after twenty-four hours. The first feature is Stories Highlights, that allows users to group together all the videos and images they have captured on Stories and show it on their profile, meaning anyone can view it at any time. This is a great feature to have as we head into 2018, as a user can view the past year’s good…and bad moments. Instagram’s other new feature also improves the Stories section. It automatically saves your 'Story' posts to an 'Archive' section, where they can be viewed privately after the twenty-four hours is up. Each archived photo or video will have a date, so a user can remember when they have posted it, meaning 2018 will be a great year for retrospect.



A ‘Social Media’ Christmas Carol

A Social Media Christmas Carol
Let’s all gather round for a not-so festive story I call ‘A Social Media Christmas Carol’ - a brief history of how online networking has changed.

Social media has undergone a journey over the years, from a fearful, misunderstood and somewhat unknown entity, to a diverse network that connects, improves and spreads cheer among users, but where did it all begin, and where is it all going?

The Social Media of Christmas Past

Back in the days of dial up internet, the first social media sites emerged, which were basic websites that connected people. The first recognisable social media site was Six Degrees that allowed people to create a profile and make friends. However, Friendster was once the biggest and most popular social media network that connected people through networks of friends. It was used for dating, making new friends and helping friends connect with new people. By 2006, it was pretty much dead – Facebook had stamped its footprint into the market and everything else seemed to fall in its wake. The bonds and connections between friends weakened and although Friendster tried to stay afloat, a series of technical difficulties and a lack of users resulted in its inevitable demise. As soon as blogging was introduced to the world, sites like Myspace and LinkedIn dominated the early 2000s with this idea of sharing your life to the world, meaning you could share your festive spirit to all your friends!

A popular messaging platform was MSN Messenger, which was renamed Windows Live Messenger before it was shut down in 2014. It provided fifteen years of awkward conversations, status updates, video calls, a series of emoticons and ‘Nudges’ and ‘Winks’, which were short videos designed to get the other person’s attention. MSN was once the only way to communicate with friends with an ability to ‘Appear Offline’ to avoid people contacting you. However, the platform was swiftly made redundant by Facebook’s messaging app as people could connect and talk with their friends all in one place.

Although social media had potential, it still wasn’t being used in the same way it is now.

The Social Media of Christmas Present

Presently, social media has moved away from desktop usability and turned its focus onto mobile phone apps. Social media strives to stay contemporary, but with so many giants in the playing field, it’s hard for new social sites to become popular. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter dominate amongst social media networks and are constantly changing and making improvements that keeps users entertained and engaged. Live video is the most recent development on social media as sites such as Facebook look to eliminate any reason for a user to leave their app.

Media that disappears has been made favourable by apps such as Snapchat, with Facebook and Instagram both taking on this idea of 'Stories' with images and video that are no longer available to view after twenty four hours. Instagram have created a bigger focus on photos, with many users this year gearing up to share images of their Christmas gifts for their friends to see.

Although many social media sites try to stay current, the market is moving quickly and constantly, meaning whatever is present at the moment is almost immediately outdated.

The Social Media of Christmas Future

It’s hard to predict what the future holds for social media sites, but there is definitely no sign of Facebook and Twitter going anywhere anytime soon. 2018 is bringing artificial intelligence, new algorithms and improvements for users. Social media will focus a lot more on relationships, between users and between the platform and a person. It seems sites are starting to use their methods for good, such as Facebook’s new A.I. technology that will try to prevent suicide amongst users. With this in mind, another turn for social media could be its focus on a person’s well-being, offering a more long-term relationship with posts and photos, instead of a fleeting ‘like’ or a 24-hour story.

There could also be this idea of a ‘Premium’ experience in social media. With more and more sites pushing advertisements into the faces of users, it could well be soon that sites start charging for individuals to get rid of the interruptions to videos and pop-ups.

However, it is quite likely that the sites of today will not be around in the future as technology develops and things become old news within minutes. With everything at the touch of a finger and pretty much every idea thought up and reused, it’s hard to predict what the future holds for social media, but it’ll definitely be a sight to stick around for.

Social Media News Roundup: December ’17 Week 1

Social Media News
As we enter December, social media begins a new era with Facebook looking into artificial intelligence to tackle suicide on its site, Twitter following in the steps of Facebook with a ‘Save for Later’ tab and Snapchat redesigning its ‘Stories’ and ‘Discover’ features to make it easier for users. Here’s the lowdown in social media news this week:
Facebook’s A.I. Suicide Prevention

Facebook is looking at ways to improve its suicide prevention online. They are currently testing artificial intelligence technology that analyses users’ posts and identifies patterns that use any terms relating to self-harm or negative content that could indicate suicidal thoughts. The A.I. was used to identify what posts a person saw first, which Facebook has built on to be able to alert responders quickly. Also, if any comments to a person that indicate an individual is struggling will be identified. The posts will be reviewed and help will be sent if necessary. The technology is able to analyse live and recorded videos too. Facebook will also use resources through Messenger to reach out to users who appear to be considering suicide.

Save the Tweets for Later

Twitter is rumoured to be developing a ‘Save for Later’ feature this week on its site. The new update will allow users to bookmark and come back to tweets, like users can on Facebook. The bookmarks, unlike likes or retweets, will be kept private so only the user can see what they’ve saved. It will be accessible in the tabs, alongside ‘Moments’ and ‘Lists’. Many users have requested the feature and it is likely to be introduced in the future, however it hasn’t been fully tested on tweeters yet.

Snapchat Separates Social from Media

Snapchat has updated its Discover feature and separated it from friends’ stories to make the app easier to use. The usual design of friends’ stories that a user hasn’t seen, and the videos and images that they have, is usually split up by advertisements and news that a person hasn’t chosen to see. The redesign parts the two altogether, with the Discover feature becoming its own section that an individual has to swipe to access. Snapchat are also combining other features to differentiate between content. This is great for users as they get to choose what they want to see and returns Snapchat back to its origins with its personal relationship between users.

Changing Your Online Voice for the New Generation

Online Voice For A New Generation
The modern social era brings more and more problems for people wanting to advertise their products and services online. Although, apps and social media sites are adding more to their advertising and promoting tools, many are hindered by other aspects that block people from seeing the brand. People tend to forget that they're talking to unique, different people through social media and with so many competitors it is vital to get your online voice right for the new generation.

Therefore, for people to see your posts, it is important to change up your features and aim your content at an individual, rather than a larger group. Even traditional advertisers such as The New York Times have shifted away from their in-your-face, generic style of ad banners and started looking at a more modern way to gain interest in their company.

Modern Day Problems

One problem of contemporary social media is a person’s ability to choose what they want to see – if an advertisement is annoying, an individual can simply remove it from their social media and block any future posts. For instance, if a person sees the same option of a similar product to click on numerous times as they scroll, they are more likely to be infuriated, than interested. Consequently, information is always in demand and often outdated within a few days. If an online presence isn't aimed at anyone in particular, people are likely to skip any content a brand posts.

Pick an Individual, Not a Group

Advertisers must remember to think about the user first. Advertisements have long been based on a model that targets everyone, but not everyone is always interested in your product or services. It’s better to market to an individual than a large group of people, as it cuts out parts of the public that would bypass the advert on Facebook.

People are only interested in entertainment and information that they find personally hilarious or exciting. Users have access to things they enjoy at the touch of their finger, so it’s about marketing to those who will specifically click on the link.

When advertising, think about what will improve your target audience’s life and how the product will benefit them. It’s no good being really enthusiastic about your service if you’re unsure of how it will help someone else. Consequently, if you have a new product and already an audience, aim the content of posts at them. It is vital to understand your target as your campaigns and themes will mould with your followers and listeners.

Content for a New Era

It’s best to think how your audience would think – identify topics that would be engaging and posts that specific consumers would find humorous.

It is significant to hone in on aspects of your online voice, such as tone and linguistic style, to get it right and defined. A person is much more likely to click on a link or explore a page that seems like it was made just for them. For example, for a women’s online clothing website, they may use terms as ‘Hey Bae’, which is terminology that will eliminate an older generation and target a smaller group of followers that their clothes are designed for. This saves time and effort on all those advertisements and posts being glanced over, as it’s a contemporary, direct and young women will know that the clothes are aimed at individuals their age. A great way to see it is that you're pitching to someone sitting in bed in their pyjamas - how would you speak to someone in this manner?

Refining your online voice for an individual will benefit your posting and advertising as it is will make content far more consistent, concise and accessible to your specific target audience and bring your brand into the modern era.

Social Media News Roundup: November ’17 Week 4

Social Media News

In social media news this week, Facebook Messenger upgrades its sharing image resolution, Pinterest helps us find the picture we can’t search with words, Instagram improves its use on Mobile Internet browsers and Snapchat adds to its promotional features.
Messenger’s High Res Upgrade

Facebook has upgraded their image sharing resolution through Messenger from 2K to 4K. People can now share high-resolution photos to one another over the app. Facebook have also announced that the time for the image to download will be the exact same as the previous, low quality pictures. Many smartphones take photos at such a high resolution, so it’s extremely useful for those who want to share images and see more detail – families on other sides of the world can now see each other’s lives as close to real life as possible.

Visually Search on Pinterest

Pinterest has improved on their visual search tools this week. With five new features added to their Lens and Visual Search, Pinterest have made it easier to find things that people struggle to name. One update is similar to a QR-code, where users can use Pincodes to create their own code that, when scanned, will lead through to a board. This is aimed at business accounts so they can create a new code for a board of products they want to advertise.

However, for all those fashion addicts out there, finding an outfit becomes even easier. Lens Your Look searches for both text and a photo. It takes the user’s own photograph and combines it with an existing search, meaning you are more likely to find a similar picture with similar items that could potentially have a product linked.

Instagram Goes More Mobile…Browser

Instagram have too been expanding this week, specifically with their Stories feature. Users can now see other people’s stories from their mobile internet browser as well as the app. The new features allow mobile browser users to add text to their photos and save posts that they can come back and see on their Internet apps. However, posting videos and the direct messaging feature are both still only available to users with the app. There have still been no real developments for Instagram on desktop browsers, but it seems arbitrary when the app is so successful for mobile use. Nevertheless, the development for Instagram on mobile websites is a big step for those who have slower Internet connections.

Snapchat Story Promos

Snapchat have been experimenting with promotional tools this week and added in a new feature when advertising on the app that allows Promoted Stories. Like users when they post to their story, promoters will be able to include up to ten videos and photos that all users in their chosen country will be able to view as if they are a friend. This is great news for businesses looking to advertise in such a fleeting app as potential consumers could repetitively watch the ads within the 24 hour time limit.

Bye Bye Brevity – Twitter’s Move to 280

Twitter's Move to 280 (2)

After testing an increase of characters on some of its users, Twitter have finally made the move to 280, doubling the number of letters and punctuation in a tweet for everyone.

All Twitter users have experienced the horror of having the best moment of their life that they know their followers will love and realise, after getting half way through their story, that they’ve run out of characters to finish the tweet. However, brevity was the unique signing-up point of Twitter; people avoided the lengthy speeches of friends and instead could follow celebrities and strangers whose lives intrigued them in small amounts.

The World in 140

Interestingly, the 140 characters format was based on text messages – SMS messages are 160 per page, so the idea was that a user’s tweet and username amounted to the number of letters and numbers of a text. This provided a more personal relationship between user and follower. However, people who tweeted in languages other than Japanese and Chinese struggled to stay in the one-text limit. Users who typed in Spanish and English often complained that there wasn’t enough space to say what they wanted to, whereas Korean users could convey twice as much in their language when tweeting. Research carried out by Twitter found that running out of space was a significant cause of frustration for English-speaking handlers.

Good News for Businesses

Twitter's move to 280 characters opens up a whole new world to people who rant, but also people who want to market their businesses. It can be hard to sell your product in 140 characters or less, so businesses now have the chance to express their goods with more detail and get the chance to provide direct links to their website and products. However, the lack of words meant companies provided much more concise and important information of their services rather than a direct sale babble, so it’ll be interesting to see if businesses will utilise the increase in characters.

Tweet for a Change

Instead of the usual numbers that decreased after every letter, a cyclical bar now turns white the more you type. Having to reduce what you wanted to say made Twitter a novelty among comics, who could share humourous quotes instantly. Twitter was a break from the life stories that were shared on other social media sites such as Facebook. It also aided the idea of photos with captions and short videos. However, Twitter's move to 280 is a big step towards freedom of speech and allowing users to express themselves even more.

The Wrong Direction

Many have complained that the length of the tweets is the least of Twitter users’ worries. Twitter is a hub of opinions and views and a platform for people to use their voice. However, not every user’s tweets are positive. Some people use the social podium to abuse others or express derogatory ideas. People have suggested that Twitter consider monitoring negative behaviour, even more so than they already do, than giving people more space to harass users.

Twitter have expressed that the amount of characters is still limited with brief constraints, so there should be no concern for those who enjoyed the compact style. Nevertheless, Twitter's move to 280 is good news for people that send a two-page rant via text and are tired of cramming their thoughts into dictated, often grammatically incorrect, tweets.

Social Media News Roundup: November ’17 Week 3

Social Media News
In social media news this week, it appears social sites have indulged in new apps and improvements to their services, with Facebook taking on video content, Google aiding hungry users, a simplified Twitter promoting system and Instagram acknowledging the hashtag as a trend to follow.
Facebook's New Video App

An app from Facebook has been unveiled this week called Facebook creator, which utilises the camera for videos that can be shared among a fan base. It’s the same concept as a direct message, but is sent to a combination of a user’s Instagram and Facebook audiences. It’s aimed at influencers and brands, and promotes an insights feature which lets you gain access to video metrics and page analytics. A user can create a video and see how it’s been received among the community – it’s a big move for companies looking to promote their services.

However, the new app's aim is to eliminate competitors such as Youtube as original sources for videos and content. Facebook continues to keep users confined in their walls, rather than stray to other social media sites.

No More Waiting In Line

Google have also improved their game among search engines. When searching for restaurants, users can now see the estimated waiting time for the time they wish to visit their chosen place. Information is now provided even more immediately and cuts out a potentially awkward phone call to find out a long waiting time. People will benefit from all the details provided on a place they wish to visit as it becomes a lot more convenient than ringing the venue or arriving and being denied a table. It saves users a lot of time when choosing the quickest place to get a table and continues to fuel our instant need for information…and food.

Automate Your Promo Tweets

Twitter are rolling out a self-serve advertising tool that allows users to pay a monthly subscription fee to automate their promoted tweets. The feature allows people to also choose whether they want their profile promoted and optimised too. The promote tool can be accessed via the mobile Twitter app, which simplifies and makes advertising far more consistent. However, there are certain restrictions on what can be posted, including profanity and tweets that could mislead other users.

Follow the Instagram Hashtag

Instagram are supposedly testing out their new feature this week by letting some users follow hashtags as well as people. This feature will help people connect with posts that interest them and allow a far more higher chance of engagement. Instagram users follow people, but not trends, and this feature opens a bigger community to connect with on a more regular basis. However, when searching for a hashtag, a user is bombarded with thousands of posts from people that have used it from all over the world. Therefore, Instagram have made it so only the top posts and recent stories are visible to an account. Although it is still in testing and only limited people are able to access the feature currently, it would be very beneficial to the relationship between businesses and their consumers.

Social Media Case Study: How Does Domino’s Use It?

Domino's Social Media Case Study
It’s hard to hear the word ‘pizza’ and not think of Domino's, especially when it dominates among the fast food industry. In 2015, they revealed an 18% rise in profits and with seven in ten of their deliveries now ordered online, it is clear the company have found their place in the digital market, so how have Domino's employed social media to reach such staggering success?

The company had a fall in 2009 when a video went viral, not directly from Domino's social media, but from employees, that diminished their brand. Nevertheless, they picked themselves up in 2011 with a revamping of their image. They took a different, more see-through approach in terms of their relationship with customers through social media. Their new transparent style involved an active website of how they were reinventing the company, documenting the changes they were making with a Twitter campaign that pushed the idea of ‘#newpizza’.

However, Domino's has turned the backlash around, found its target market and established itself as a leader amongst fast food delivery services. Pizza has always been popular, but trying to beat its competitors means targeting a specific group of people. Domino's social media has focused on the younger generation and now appeals directly to students, especially teenagers starting afresh in university.

Domino's Social Media Presence

Domino's already have a huge following on social media – with over a million likes on Facebook. The company play on popular film quotes, incorporating the word pizza to make the quotation relevant to them. On Twitter, Domino's are constantly interacting with customers and dealing with complaints. They are a prevalent presence on social media; consumers are always responding. They know what the people want – humourous quotes alongside high quality pictures of pizzas that’ll leave the audience salivating. Instagram is equally on trend, using popular hashtags and employing the ‘taking photos of your food and posting them’ ritual.

The Pizza Club

They know their target audience, often using language like ‘squad’, branding videos that youthful individuals can relate to and creating posts that make the audience respond with “That’s so me!” Their most recent advertisement on Instagram, modernises the infamous 80s movie The Breakfast Club, intertwining elements of contemporary popular culture such as fidget spinners, social awkwardness and the return of retro style. Instead of the iconic fist pump, instead the main character holds two branded pizza boxes.

Ordering Pizza Through Facebook

They have utilised social media to make ordering pizza even easier. If the website hadn’t already made it easier than picking up the phone and the app hadn’t already made it quicker the website, Domino's have made it possible to order through Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa. Via Facebook a customer can message a bot and through Amazon Alexa a person can shout from across the room and hear the tracking details of their order. Domino's are continuously epitomising convenience - in the United States the company have made it possible to tweet the pizza emoji or the hashtag ‘#EasyOrder’ and the dough is already being stretched and sauced.

Domino's social media has latched onto the digital innovative train and with no plans to alight yet, it’s quite easy to see the company's success is derived from their online presence, rather than solely down to the falling cost of cheese.

Social Media News Roundup: August ’17 Week 2

social media news august 17 week 2
In the news this week - Facebook muscles into the online video scene, apple launches Instagram account and social media usage tops 3 billion…
Facebook muscles into the online video scene with Facebook Watch

Facebook have taken an officially stand to leap into the world of short-form professional online video with Watch, a new platform for shows on Facebook. Watch is somewhat of a late arrival to the online-video scene, however Facebook is currently second only to YouTube for internet video - so the likelihood is that if it takes of (and that is a big if) it will take off in a big way.

Over 30 different production partners have been announced, including MLB, A&E and Hearst. According to the announcement on their newsroom, they intend to see a wide range of shows on Watch, including reality shows, comedy and live sports. They said this:

“We think Watch will be a home to a wide range of shows… To help inspire creators and seed the ecosystem, we’ve also funded some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series… We’re excited to see how creators and publishers use shows to connect their fans and community.”

Apple launches Instagram account to showcase iPhone photography

The term “Shot on iPhone” has become synonymous with Apple Inc.’s marketing. Now the tech giant has created an Instagram account devoted to celebrating and promoting iPhone photography. The reasons are pretty clear - if there is any logical place to promote photography, it is the world’s largest photo-sharing app.

Instagram now commands a staggering 700 million active users a month. You can check out the new account @apple. For the time being at least, it looks like Apple plan on using the account to build community-centred marketing - at the time of writing their bio currently reads “Welcome to @apple. Tag #ShotoniPhone to take part.” Already the account commands over 500k followers

Combined social media usage passes the 3 billion users mark

The latest combined research from Hootsuite and We Are Social has reveal that the number of people using social media across the world now rests at 3.028 billion - and shows no sign of stopping. This is up four percent since last quarter, an increase of 121 million users, 113 million more than the amount of new adopters of the internet in general. Active social media users are now growing at a rate of one million per day.

Facebook, Whatsapp and Snapchat feature among list of worst apps for battery draining

A report by Avast into the most battery-draining Android apps included (perhaps a little unsurprisingly) Facebook, Whatsapp and Snapchat. These were listed among other feature-rich apps such as Netflix and Google Maps. To see the full list and read Avast’s recommendations for making your battery last the longest it possibly can, check out this article on The Independent.

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