This might be a huge sweeping statement but, for me, Twitter just ain’t what it used to be. Consumer engagement is definitely harder to achieve, particularly as Twitter has become ridiculously saturated by brands fighting for attention, and it certainly isn’t something brands can just assume they will get if they share good content.
Being relevant and topical has a big part to play in whether or not your audience finds your content useful and interesting enough to share with their friends. And people don’t just share anything. Would you want to promote content that isn’t cool or fun with the risk of being seen as such? Well, Instagram’s latest update takes all of this into account and although Twitter might not be getting you the interaction you want, the image-sharing platform seems to have taken a leaf out their book to make discovering and sharing content easier.
With more than 70 million photos and videos shared via its channel each day, Instagram has totally reimagined its Explore tab highlighting content discovery as a key part of the social channel’s experience. By tapping into hashtags, users and places to capture and communicate key moments, Instagram has made it easier to peruse the vast amount of visual content it boasts.
The “explore posts” section is still alive and kicking, but it is now complemented by trending tags and places. A much more powerful search capability makes finding the content everyone is loving right now much simpler and helps brands and users tap into trending events and conversations both near you and worldwide in real-time – increasing relevance and, potentially, engagement numbers.
A second major update to Instagram’s search will leave holiday makers or soon to be travellers reaching for their smartphones. With the new Places search, you can immerse yourself in any location on the planet. Explore your next holiday destination or follow a music festival to feel like you’re actually there! It also allows you to explore beyond your feed through ‘Top Search’ where you can search people, places and tags at once.
The update is only available in the U.S for now on iOS and Android, but it will probably be rolled out on a wider scale soon.
by Kalli Soteriou
Twitter and Facebook have been battling it out for years to win and retain users. This is becoming even more of a struggle as other social sites, like Instagram and Pinterest, which host strong visual content, are growing much quicker and are much more popular. Constant updates and new features help to keep users interested and make the experience as seamless as possible, and both social channels have promised exactly that with their newest upgrades.
Welcome (finally) video autoplay on Twitter. I don’t know about you guys, but this really makes me happy. Like really, really happy.
Gone are the days of having to tap, tap, tap to view a video. Native videos, Vines and Gifs (ERMAHGERD!!!!) will now being to play automatically – helping to keep track of what is being shared instantly. So, once you tap the video, the sound will turn on and the video will play in expanded view. You can also turn the video to landscape mode, where the sound will autoplay and the video will expand to fill the screen. Amazeballs!
You can even change the settings on how you would prefer the video to play. If you liked the old way of doing things you can revert to click-to-play, otherwise you could choose to simply have the videos autoplay only when connected to wifi. Twitter has been super clever and even included an autoplay opt out when you have low bandwidth or somewhere sunning yourself where there’s high data rates so performance isn’t affected and you don’t get charged out your backside to view.
For advertisers this is the big ticket to more social love. It’s a mega improvement to how branded rich media content will be displayed and interacted with. Videos will appear in a larger, more media-friendly format in timelines. During a test run, Twitter found that people engaged with this new video format at a much higher rate, and brands have also seen improved performance in terms of cost-per-views, which is lower, and increased video recall by fans.
Twitter has started rolling out this update to everyone as of yesterday afternoon on Twitter for iOS and twitter.com. As usual, Android users have to wait a little longer. Soz!
Now, over to Facebook, who has launched another partner app to help improve image sharing with friends. Hold on, isn’t that what Instagram and WhatsApp is for? Well, Moments promises a quick way to exchange photos with friends through syncing photos with the app and with friends. It groups photos on your phone based on when they were taken. It even uses facial recognition technology to identify which friends are in them easily – no more tagging! Can I get a hell yeah?!
Unfortunately, the app is only currently available in the US, but it will be rolled out to other countries soon. If you can’t wait, here’s a short clip that Facebook has put together to show how it works:
by Kalli Soteriou
Facebook ‘News Feeds’ have been supplying us with the content we love (and, lets be honest, hate) since 2004. Traditionally, the way the feed displays information is based on engagement, so the more likes/comments/shares a post has will determine how frequently it appears in someone’s newsfeed. But Facebook has made an interesting change to the way its content will be displayed as a result of its latest findings.
From research, Facebook has found that these typical engagement measures don’t always tell the whole story about whether a particular piece of content is meaningful. Just because someone didn’t complete an action after seeing a piece of content, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t resonate with them in some way. There are times when people want to see information but may not necessarily want to comment or like it. So as a result, Facebook is updating its News Feed ranking to factor in a new ‘signal’ – time spent viewing a story.
Think about a particularly sensitive story. You might spend 10 minutes reading the article, but because of its nature you don’t like or comment on it. Does this mean that it wasn’t interesting to you? Of course not! It’s just not something you feel comfortable commenting on. But surely it’s not as simple as just measuring the number of seconds you spend reading each story to determine whether that content meant something to you? Facebook has factored in that there will be those spending a while on content simply because their internet connection is slow, but in general, will assume that if people spend ‘significantly more time on a particular story in News Feed than the majority of other stories they look at, this is a good sign that the content was relevant to them’. As a result, you may start to see like posts surface higher up in your feed.
Facebook has started rolling this out and will continue over the next few weeks. Worried about what this might mean for Pages? Not to worry, they don’t expect to see any real changes in distribution as a result.
by Kalli Soteriou
Instagram have updated their look on both their desktop and mobile versions. The new layout provides a cleaner and flatter view of your istagram posts. It removes the borders from around images and the change is more noticeable on the desktop version where the image grid has been reduced from 5 images across to just 3. This allows the images to be larger and makes them more of a focal point. The montage grid at the top of the desktop page has also been removed which allows for more focus on the individual and their page. The profile image now displays as a circle as opposed the square image it was before.
It is a much more subtle and modern layout than its predecessor and it works well at linking the app closely with the desktop version. The roll out of the layout change has started today, and all users are expected to have it by the end of the week.
by Helen Stirling
So, does anyone remember the Twitter update that made it easier to engage with and follow conversations in the home timeline? Well, they’ve only gone and done it again, but with the tweet page.
Twitter announced last night on its blog that the update is said to make it easier to get involved in conversations. Tweets that have sparked lots of replies needn’t be the bane of your life anymore! Conversations will now be grouped together, with some of the most interesting replies appearing right underneath the original tweet. And if your content surfaces at the top of the conversation, it’s because you are awesome! No, really, if the original Tweeter has engaged with your reply, Twitter will favour it and bump it up the ranks.
The new feature is currently being rolled out to all users on twitter.com today, but won’t be applied to mobile apps for a little while, standard.
by Kalli Soteriou
Ok, so not sure if anyone else is as excited as I am about this, but Pinterest is soon going to be introducing shoppable Pins. Yep, you heard right. The future has arrived! This is amazing, not just because it’s going to make my life sooooo much better (ever been in that place where you can’t for the life of you work out where someone has bought that dress or necklace they pinned? I have, it’s very annoying!); it’s also going to open so many doors for the hoards of brands that have been tapping into the benefits of using the social platform – it’s also going to see so many more start using it.
But that’s not all, not only will you be able to simply tap a button to buy ‘that dress’, you’ll also be able to save items for later and even buy ingredients for recipes! How Pinterest-ing!
Here’s how Pinterest says it will work:
See the blue ‘Buy it’ button? If your item shows this, you’re good to go! You can even use the price filter to hone down on the right Pin and also find the right colour within the Pin itself, just swipe! Score!
The app works with Apple Pay or a credit card and has the option to store payment information within the software itself via a third party so you don’t have to worry about tapping it in every time or that your device or Apple Pay will send your actual card number to the seller. Very simple and secure. Wowsers, these guys have thought of everything!
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, only the U.S. will able to start using the ‘Buy it’ option over the next few weeks and to start with, it will only be available on iPhones and iPads – Android users, standard that you get the even shorter straw, you won’t be able to start shopping just yet, Pinterest has promised you’ll see them in future releases – whenever that will be! Macy’s and Nordstrom are a couple of the brands already signed up, but if you’re a brand interested in how this can support your sales, there’s more info on Pinterest’s business blog.
Happy pinning and shopping America! We are so jealous!
by Kalli Soteriou
A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 29th May – Maggi’s just doesn’t get Twitter and is it Pimm’s O’Clock yet?
Sun’s out (well it isn’t here today!) and the tennis season has started, which means one thing and one thing only. It’s Pimm’s O’Clock! Or is it? Well, Diageo – Pimm’s manufacturer and distributer – has launched a weather-activated summer campaign. Yeah, it baffled me to begin with, but it’s simplicity at its best. When temperatures reach at least 21 degrees, out-of-home ads are triggered to display a Pimm’s bottle and a jug of the famous fruit cocktail with the strapline ‘Best Served with Sunglasses’, letting people know it’s time to grab a jug and bask in the sun.
Weather permitting, the ads will run in London and Birmingham on 12 Ocean’s Outdoor’s screens from Thursdays to Sundays during peak times for commuters.
Joanna Segesser, senior brand manager for Pimm’s at Diageo said: “Consumer research has shown us that our media is not only more effective but also more efficient if it is linked to sunny weather. We are therefore really excited that for the first time digital out of home technology is allowing us to target consumers at just the right temperature when we know they are most responsive to our messaging.”
Nestle has been in the firing line this week after rumours spread that some of it’s products contain MSG. Maggi’s clumsy damage control attempt riled Twitter fans even more and it was if the brand had no clue how to use social media at all! Automated responses coupled with heavy text files to ‘clarify the situation’ felt like a bit of a cop out and didn’t really address the issue.
Don’t brands ever learn? After the recent Thomas Cook scandal, when faced with a serious or potentially brand-damaging issue, MAN UP! There’s nothing worse than when a consumer interacts with a brand and they get a robotic response. People expect a human reply, after all we are the ones controlling the content! And while we’re at it, sharing a PDF? Really, a PDF? I love reading PDFs on my phone….said no one, ever. But even more so, food hygiene and safety are huge concerns within the FMCG industry, so to handle the complaints so blasé seems like they’ve completely underestimated the problem.
by Kalli Soteriou
Social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. Photos, gifs, news snippets, videos and statuses dominate our social feeds, encouraging us to interact and share our experiences in a flooded digital arena. We are now more connected than we have ever been and have access to information 24-7, but are social media sites actually making us more withdrawn from people and the real world? We are less interested in others – except when it comes to finding out what people this about us. We love a ‘selfie’ – reinforced by the fact it’s now been added to the Oxford Dictionary; it’s as if being ‘closer’ to other people is making us less social and more ‘me, me, me’!
To be honest, the pure nature of social media seems egocentric to me. Yes we can share useful information, check out what our favourite brands are up to and essentially ‘socialise’ with others. But if you take a moment to scroll through your feed, what will you see? My bet is selfies, food porn and pretty much any single thing your friends or followers are doing or thinking (often sharing waaaaay too much information; we’ve all got one or two of those mates, right?). People go out of their way to document their lives on social. This is prolific in visual platforms like Instagram or Snapchat which have, in my opinion, been created off the back of our desire to habitually share self-orientated information.
Now, taking the occasional “selfie” does not automatically make you a narcissist. It’s completely normal to want to share a new hair cut or exciting trip with your friends. But recent studies have found that users who avidly share self-focussed content are more likely to display some sort of psychological disorder. A recent article from Psychology Today showed that ‘both narcissism and self-objectification were associated with spending more time on social networking sites’.
But I do wonder, have we always been this vain but just never had the means of displaying it publicly? Unsurprisingly, Psychology Today found that narcissism levels have been rising for decades. In general, social media channels encourage self-promotion, as users generate all of the content. But it also boosts self esteem. Can you recall that feeling when someone you admire engages with you on Twitter? I certainly can and it’s great! Sure, there’s nothing wrong with seeking others’ approval – a healthy personal identity depends on paying careful attention to what others think of us.
Let’s not forget that we are encouraged to interact with others content – Facebook lets you like and share; Twitter is more about the Favourite and Retweet – we just choose not to unless it resonates with us. Working with brands like Superdry, we know how important engagement is and so avoid overly sales focussed messaging. Selfies and the like are our own sales messages. We like to self-promote and compete with others. Hmm…doesn’t seem like a new phenomenon to me!
I do think that we have in general day-today life become more self-obsessed. We are trying to become a healthier nation. We know sugar is very, very bad for us. And we love going to the gym (and telling or showing everyone that we are pumping iron). But who do we really have to blame for that? Advertisers? The media? Or ourselves?
by Kalli Soteriou
It’s finally here fellow android users! Periscope launches on the Google Play store today.
The app initially launched 2 months ago for iOS, with huge fanfare and it reached 1 million downloads in 10 days. Now after lots of tweaking and polishing it has made it’s way to android devices. The new android version has all the functionality of the iOS version but also with some added perks. These perks are a ‘return to broadcast’ version, which allows you to return to a stream after you’ve exited to do something else on your phone.
When you open Periscope on android you will be given a list of streams happening right now on the app from people that you’re following. It will also suggest that you follow everyone that you follow on Twitter to keep on top of updates on the app. If there is nothing happening when you go on the app, you can swipe right and it will have a list of broadcasts going on around the world right at that second. The app will also give you a list of the most popular users of the app, which is not always reliable, as some users try to rig the system. Finally you can view your own profile and search for users by name.
The big difference between the app on Android and the app on iOS is the way that you start a broadcast. On the android app you start a broadcast by pressing a big red button on the broadcast screens whereas on iOS you use the central tab. Overall though the app is much the same and as easy to use as the iOS version. We’re just mostly excited that it’s finally here for android!
by Helen Stirling
A Social Media Agency’s Likes and Fails – 22nd May – Kent Earthquake reactions and Oddschecker AU Fail
There was an earthquake in Kent last night, in case you hadn’t noticed the furore on Social Media this morning. There are people cracking jokes about the earthquake which surprisingly hit 4.2 magnitude on the richter scale. The internet went meme crazy posting pictures sarcastically about the effects of the quake. Pictures such as a lawn chair falling over, a broken gnome and bananas that have fallen off their hanger. Now I’m not too judgemental, but these memes have been used before for similar situations, like when it was super windy here.
— IAMEatonsMess x (@Britishchickx) May 22, 2015
A large betting company in Australia has had to check their tweeting today after the posted a rather cruel jibe at a professional footballer and his girlfriend. The company posted a photo of the couple along with the mean tweet which said: ‘Sure she’s a lovely girl but someone needs to remind James Wilson that he’s a pro footballer Start abusing this privilege’. People were quite obviously outraged at the the tone and suggestion of the tweet, and the account received tons of hate spewed back at them saying that it was disgraceful. The offending tweet can be seen below. The tweet was removed after a few hours with a simply apology tweet.
There are obviously many worse things posted on Twitter everyday but if you are a brand trying to uphold an image then it’s best to not post something that feels too controversial. If you notice a tweet gaining traction for whatever reason then closely monitor it and its sentiment so it can be removed swiftly if need be! This is one example where the post snowballed up so much that loads of people saw it and took offence. Don’t let it get that far.
by Helen Stirling