Social Media Innovations: June 2019

By Alex Jeater

Instagram lets brands turn influencer posts into ads

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We start with arguably the biggest news of the month – the announcement that Instagram is now allowing brands to turn influencer posts created for them, into adverts. 

Businesses will be able to create the “branded content ads” using Instagram’s paid partnership tool.

The new feature will allow influencer content to reach a new, wider audience, outside the influencer’s own reach – which should be beneficial to both influencer and the brand in question. 

Uptake so far has been slow, probably as influencers re-negotiate their fees, however we expect to see a substantial level of partnership posts in the future, as brands look to maximise the return on their influencer activity. 

Instagram introduces Ad placements on the Explore feed

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Staying with Instagram, the platform also announced towards the end of June that it will be showing Ads in the photo-sharing app’s Explore feed – that area of the app where users go to lose hours of their life. 

Conscious not to flood the Explore feed with too many Ads, an accusation that users have levelled at Facebook, the company will roll out the placement feature “slowly and thoughtfully in the coming months”.

Facebook Introduces “Top Fans” feature for Organic Posts 

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Finally, Facebook has introduced a new function that allows pages to publish organic posts targeted to their top fans – those that are most engaged.

The move should enable pages to build a core of good engagement, with the hope that this positive sentiment helps to increase awareness to a wider audience.   

The top fans feature follows years of reducing organic reach on the Facebook platform, with only around 6% to 10% of fans seeing each post organically. Perhaps Facebook now realises that it has gone too far in the monetisation of the platform?

TSC Inspiration – July 2019

By Sophia Littledale

Héctor Bellerín Urges Men to “speak out”

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In retaliation to the tightening of US abortion laws in Missouri and Albama, Spain and Arsenal defender Héctor Bellerín has taken to Twitter to call upon more men to “speak out”. 

The 24-year-old commented on the latest legislation that “This wasn’t just an issue for women, it’s one for every human being.” He finished by saying, “We fight for equality and this is something men should fight for and not hide away from”.

Bellerín’s tweet was met with praise on the social media platform, with many praising the footballer for speaking out, including Arsenal alumni, Ian Wright.

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Ahead of the Game

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At a time when Chinese mobile manufactures are more used to controversy than praise, Transsion, a manufacturer of affordable mobile phones, is breaking boundaries. 

The secret to Transsion’s success is its localised strategy of creating a camera that calibrates to darker skin tones - which has placed it ahead of its competitors in Africa.

It’s great to see tech companies recognising the importance of diversity. Indeed, the recent change in the emoji skin tone variations is further evidence that technology manufacturers and social media platforms are starting to look beyond Silicon Valley to the wider world.

Somebody Call 911

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And finally, a Florida town, Riviera Beach, recently paid out $600,000 in order to get its computer systems back on track

Computers were decreed unusable following an email-led virus attack, with the hackers requiring a ransom to return the systems to normal. The repercussions were so drastic that all municipal staff were forced to use a manual paper admin system.

In the end, the local council took a vote to pay off the hackers via bitcoins. A spokeswoman for the council stated there was no guarantee that the hackers would restore the town’s computers once they’d been paid. Watch this space.

Social Media Innovations: May 2019

By Alex Jeater

Another Facebook Algorithm Update

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Following its annual F8 conference, which included a host of new features and a new white design, Facebook announced that it is to make two key changes to its news feed algorithm. The first update will lead to users viewing more posts form their closest friends. The second, which is more relevant for businesses, will lead to a clamp down in click-bait content for pages. To do this, the platform is de-prioritising the importance of link clicks in the promotion of posts. 

Twitter Upgrades RT

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Fans of an RT, or a quote RT, can now add a photo, video or gif to any Twitter Re-tweet. Described as a “highly requested” feature by the micro-blogging platform, the update should enliven feeds and lead to even more video being shared, which, in our opinion, can only be a good thing.

Twitter Launches News Alerts for The Cricket World Cup

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Good news for Twitter users, and fans of the Cricket World Cup; the platform will roll out push notifications on relevant news stories from the tournament, to user’s mobile phones. Usually reserved just for major news stories and world events, the feature has been activated for the tournament, which runs until 14th July. The bad news? It’s only been turned on for Twitter users in India. Frustrating. 

TSC Inspiration: June 2019

By Sophia Littledale

Don’t Make Me Get Old School

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Growing up in the 90s was synonymous with Girl Power, dial up, printed map directions and of course, Birds of a Feather. 

Dizzee Rascal was no stranger to the cult classic TV show. So much so, that he recently shared on Instagram a signed photo of his star struck meeting with one of the show’s stars, Linda Robson

Thankfully, Dizzee cleared up the rumours that he walked round with a copy of Linda’s photo in his back pocket. Ever the professional, Linda had stock piled a photo of herself ready for her adoring fans. Sweet like Tropicana.

“One-Off Mistakes Happen”

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Hawksmoor Manchester recently owned up to accidentally serving a customer a £4,500 bottle of red wine.

The diner in question had ordered a £260 Bordeaux, but had received the Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001 instead.  

The mortified employee was told to keep their “chin up” as “one-off mistakes happen” by the upmarket steak restaurant in this tweet, which received over 66k likes.

Slow News Day

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Outshining Theresa May in her own resignation speech outside 10 Downing Street was Podium Guy.  

When sound engineer, Tobius Gough, stood in to test the podium microphone, it sent the Twittersphere into a frenzy, and led to #HotPodiumGuy trending on the micro-blogging platform. 

Despite the furore, Podium Guy remained humble, “I have to say it was great lighting to make me look that good, the sun must have been at the right angle.”

Keg Party

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A stolen brewery van in North Carolina, was found in just 42 minutes after a reward of free beer was shared on Twitter.

The Unknown Brewing Co. in Charlotte took to the platform to help the local community find the van after it was reported stolen in the early hours. 

The business tweeted an incentive of a keg party to anyone who could tell them the whereabouts of the missing van. More than 15 people called in with tip-offs about the van and shortly afterwards someone posted a photo of the vehicle on their street. 

As a thank you to the citizens of Charlotte for locating the van, Unknown Brewing has created ‘Van Theft Auto’; a new beer that will be sold for 25 cents on Wednesday 5th June. 

Social Media Innovations: April 2019

By Alex Jeater

Facebook F8 2019 Conference: Facebook Platform Updates 

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Each year, Facebook’s annual F8 conference outlines the social media giant’s key updates. This year, there has been a wide range of announcements and updates - too many to mention here. However, at the time of press, the key innovations are the shift to an all-white design and the re-shaping the platform around events and groups – presumably as a away to differentiate from Instagram. This will also mean that the news feed will decrease in prominence – which could have an impact in terms of the performance of Ads with that placement option (but we shall wait and see). The company is also rolling out its dating service to more countries. 

Facebook F8 2019 Conference: Instagram Platform Updates 

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In news that will sink the heart of every influencer, it was confirmed at the F8 conference that Instagram is testing hiding like counts on its posts. Users will still be able to see how many engagements each of their own posts had received, but the overall like count won’t be visible to followers. The trial comes as social media companies start to adjust their platforms to account for the accusation that they are facilitating the distortion of reality for the sake of likes and shares – and therefore impacting the way users, particularly younger audiences, behave. 

It was also announced at the F8 conference that a new Create Mode will be introduced on Instagram – with a view to make some of Instagram’s existing image features more easily accessible. 

LinkedIn Engagement On The Rise

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While LinkedIn is notoriously bad at providing usage information, owner Microsoft recently revealed in its FY2019 Q3 results that “LinkedIn sessions grew 24%, with record levels of engagement and job postings”. The professional networking platform has rolled out a list of updates recently, including reactions, Stories and photo tagging, which has driven engagement. Combined with the dwindling reach for organic posts on Facebook pages, and new business page features for LinkedIn, the increase in engagement makes the platform an increasingly attractive offer for marketers. 

Twitter Launches Report Functionality for Elections 

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Launched to coincide with the EU and Indian elections, Twitter has made steps to tackle fake news on its news sharing platform.

It has introduced a dedicated report function, which enables users to alert the platform to misleading content. The new feature went live on the 29th April 2019 in Europe, with plans to roll out to forthcoming global elections throughout the year. 

After a flurry of bad press, Facebook is also keen to see that no country or individual can influence political campaigning. A set of tools were developed specifically for Indian users, in a bid to rid the platform of fake news throughout the elections in the country.

Facebook Introduces New 3D Photo Options

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Finally, last month Facebook announced that it now allows users to post 3D photos to Stories. The platform already supports 3D photos on its feed from iOS (they just haven’t taken off yet), so the Stories placement is a natural progression. The platform will also support 3D images from Android shortly.

For anyone not familiar with 3D photos, iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, XS, and XS Max all have the capability to take 3D images. This rules out the iPhone XR. A phone that I just purchased. FML. 

TSC Inspiration: May 2019

By Sophia Littledale

Removing the “Fun” from Hedge Fund

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Patagonia recently delivered the ultimate blow to all Midtown Manhattan (and Square Mile) Chads, Brads and Tads recently, as it announced that it’s changing its policy for corporate clients.  

In recent years, the outdoor brand has become the symbol for the finance industry. Tribute accounts, such as @midtownuniform, have garnered huge success with their parodies of the ubiquitous fleece vests which have become a status symbol for aspiring young Gordon Geckos. 

However, the fleece vest is now an endangered species in the fintech world, as Patagonia announced that it will only partner with companies that have fully embraced charitable and environmental causes, therefore distancing itself from finance bros in Gucci loafers. 

This was unavoidable, says the anonymousfounder of @midtownuniform, “It was only a matter of time before Patagonia laid the hammer down on working with financial firms. They don’t want to be associated with firms that aren’t aligned with their mission, I get it.”

Full Transparency 

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With consumers now asking more of their brands in terms of social, ethical and environmental practices, The Fashion Transparency Index 2019, has become an increasingly important measure for shoppers.

The report, compiled by Fashion Revolution aims to assess brands across five key areas: policy and commitments, governance, supply chain traceability, supplier assessment and remediation. 

The year, Adidas, Reebok and Patagonia topped the fashion and retail charts, in part due to their transparent social media feeds. 

A great example of this is Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop; a product made from 100% recyclable material, which the sportswear brand expertly communicated across its social channels. With Extinction Rebellion turning more people onto environmental causes, expect to see an increasing number of brands taking to social to demonstrate their eco credentials. 

Nigel Slater’s Instagram Melt Down

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Finally, earlier in April we were alerted to the above comment made by the usually calm and subdued chef (not travel agent), Nigel Slater. 

Not really an “inspiration” as such, but it’s good to see that even the best of us have off days on Instagram. Thanks, Nigel. 

 

Social Media Innovations: March 2019

By Alex Jeater

A round-up of this month’s key platform updates

Facebook drops key targeting options 

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We start with news that Facebook is dropping some key advertising targeting options on its platform. In what is a pretty significant shake up in the industry, housing, job, or credit advertisers will no longer be able to target Facebook & Instagram users by age, gender, or postal code. The move is in response to various legal challenges in the US. It’s not clear whether the rule changes will be implemented immediately in the UK, but history suggests that changes made to the platform across the Atlantic inevitably find their way into EU markets, so watch this space. 

Instagram introduces product checkout 

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Last month, Instagram launched a checkout feature which allows users to purchase products seen on posts without leaving the App. Currently in its beta stage, the Facebook-owned photography platform is testing the process in the US with 20 brands, including Nike, Burberry and Prada. Once users opt to purchase, they can enter their name, delivery address and payment details, which will be stored for future use. Instagram is also charging businesses a fee for each transaction. Expect to see a wider roll out, and even a standalone shopping App, in 2019. 

Snapchat rumoured to be launching a new gaming platform 

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Finally, it’s rumoured that Snapchat is to launch a dedicated gaming platform which “would let outside developers create games to be played through the Snapchat app". In recent months, Snapchat’s user growth has slowed, so any opportunity to help increase the App’s user base, differentiate it from Instagram, and increase the amount of time existing users spend on the App gaming, will help the platform become more appealing to advertisers.

TSC Inspiration: April 2019

By Sophia Littledale

Glossier Launches Glossier Play

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March was a momentous month for Glossier; the globe’s most exciting direct-to-consumer beauty start-up. Not only did the company announce that it had raised $100 million in funding, it also secured a staggering valuation of a billion dollars and launched its first standalone beauty collection, Play. 

As you can imagine, Glossier Play wasn’t your average beauty launch. To help drive a cult-like following and buyer frenzy, the straight-talking brand enlisted “reps” across a multitude of fields, with a wide range of personal styles and ethnicities.

Influencers included male Canadian motivational dancer, Dontè Colle and self-acclaimed “Trap Pop Princess”, Janine the Machine

And the strategy worked. Within just 24 hours Glossier Play had amassed over 50,000 Instagram followers and became the platform’s most talked about new profile. 

Chinese Goths Protest with Selfies

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Chinese goths took to Weibo in their droves last month, in a show of solidarity after a member of their community was made to remove her make-up after being denied access to a Guangzhou subway station by security, to avoid “distressing” other passengers. 

Using the hashtag #ASelfieForTheGuangzhouMetro, thousands of Weibo users shared photos of themselves wearing gothic make-up and attire in support.

The Guangzhou subway has since apologised. Great to see the power of social media in action.

Instagram Checkout

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As reported in our Innovations round up, Instagram introduced “Checkout” in March, which allows shoppers to choose and purchase products through the photo sharing App. While its only at the beta testing stage and only available in the US at the moment, so far we’ve liked what we’ve seen. The UX also seems pretty functional, although it’s disappointing that only one product can be purchased at a time. 

Other brands signed up include Nike, Uniqlo, Zara, Prada, Burberry, Adidas, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, NARS, Balmain, Dior and more. We await the UK rollout soon. Please. 

 

 

TSC Inspiration: March 2019

By Sophia Littledale

The holy trinity of social media: Alan Partridge, crisps & inspirational women

“As clogged as John’s arteries”

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Last week, the much-anticipated ‘This Time with Alan Partridge’ aired on BBC One. To help promote the new series for Norwich’s biggest export, BBC employees took to Twitter to reveal an email sent to over 20,000 BBC employees in Partridge’s notoriously awkward tone to “clear the air of any residual stench” and to assure his colleagues that there are “no hard feelings” after the BBC sacked him in the 90s. Back of the net.

Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign

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Ahead of International Women’s Day, Nike has launched an extremely powerful campaign that encourages women to ‘Dream Crazier’. Narrated by Serena Williams, the 1-minute 30-second video sheds sexist assumptions and dispels misconceptions. The video, featuring Caster Semenya, Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Chloe Kim, has already reached over 28 million views and counting.

Who is the best manager in the world?

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BT Sport’s recent Twitter community engagement prompt to name “the best (football) manager in the world?” was greeted by an unusual response by one fan of Co-Op’s Chardonnay Wine Vinegar Crisps. In recent weeks, fans have taken to the Twittersphere in droves (aided by a name check on the Hi-Lo podcast) to declare their love for the snack, with messages featuring empty Co-op shelfs, selfies and odes of love. We can reveal that the crisps very much do live up to the hype. 

Social Media Innovations: February 2019

By Alex Jeater

A round-up of this month’s key platform updates

Instagram is testing donation stickers for Stories

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We start with the news that Instagram is testing a donation sticker for Stories. The feature will allow users to easily donate to a not for profit by linking to a specific fundraising URL, but in the future may allow for one-touch payment from users who click on the sticker while in the App. A great option for charities running Stories campaigns. 

LinkedIn launches live video 

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Last month, LinkedIn announced the launch of LinkedIn Live, a feature which allows users to live stream videos directly to their followers. While such a feature has existed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for some time, its arrival on LinkedIn opens up multiple options for business to business marketing and recruitment events, including live product launches, demonstrations, Q&As and conferences. LinkedIn Live will initially be launched in the US, but expect a global roll out soon.  

Facebook is moving all campaigns to campaign budget optimisation 

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A slightly more technical update this one, but earlier in February Facebook announced that by September 2019 all campaign budget will be optimised at the campaign level, rather than Ad set level. This means that the platform will automatically optimise spend between Ad Sets – which in theory should make campaigns more efficient. It may, however, lead to some messy campaign creation as targeting specific groups will require the set up of individual campaigns. 

Social Media Advertising Workshop

By Alex Jeater

We’re all off to sunny Spain. Viva EADA (University)

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Last month, I had the privilege of delivering a Social Media Advertising Workshop for MBA students at EADA University in Barcelona. Over the course of two days, I was tasked with introducing 70 MBA students from Europe, North, Central, South America and Asia to Facebook and Instagram advertising.  

The workshop focused on the benefits of social media advertising over traditional media, how Facebook collects data, and how to set up target audiences to achieve different campaign objectives. 

After the introduction, students broke out into project teams, where they were tasked with designing a campaign in full, including building an Ad Set and creating several Ads to be served to target audiences for their chosen product or service.  

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 The workshop gave students a rounded understanding of the potential benefits of social media advertising, and how it works. Much fun was also had with the creative, as multiple teams created professional videos for their respective product or service in just a few hours, with some excellent professional-level work produced. 

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Interestingly, students were particularly surprised at the depth of data that Facebook and Instagram holds on users – suggesting that despite all the recent revelations regarding data privacy, even the platform’s most prevalent users don’t realise just what it knows about their habits and interests. 

Overall, the workshop was great fun to deliver, aided by the strong student engagement and laid back, friendly atmosphere. A big thank you to EADA for having me, and I am looking forward to coming back next year. 

If you would like to learn more about the power of social media advertising and would like to set up a tailored workshop for your business or organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. 

 

 

We Are Hiring – Social Media Executive

Hand in your P45. We’ve got the job for you

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We’re looking for a committed and enthusiastic entry-level social media executive with a passion for social media to join our growing business. 

The ideal candidate will be a university graduate with the following attributes:

·      Good work ethic and desire to learn and innovate

·      Strong understanding of social media trends 

·      Great communication skills

·      Passion for marketing and brands 

·      Impressive organisation skills 

·      Excellent attention to detail

·      Motivated self-starter who is happy to work autonomously 

·      An all-rounder, who can write, is good with data and can generate insights 

The day-to-day tasks includes the following:

·      Writing copy for social media posts and newsletters

·      Liaising with clients to develop regular content 

·      Developing creative client campaigns

·      Community managing client accounts 

·      Weekly and monthly client reporting

·      Setting up and optimising paid social campaigns (training giving)

·      Setting up and managing influencer campaigns

·      Writing new business proposals 

In return, we are offering:

·      A competitive salary (TBC upon request)

·      25 days paid annual leave

·      The opportunity to work at an exciting start up with clients in multiple sectors

·      A chance to develop a holistic understanding of social media, including copywriting, photography, image editing, video animations, social media advertising, influencer management, and analysis techniques.

Location: Ideally London, but opportunity to work from home, and in multiple shared workspaces.

To apply, please email your CV to alex@thesocialconsultant.co.uk, with a short covering letter in the email body. No agencies. 

TSC Inspiration: February 2019

By Sophia Littledale

You do you, baby

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Another day, another Mariah-ism. This time it comes from her entry into Instagram’s recent  ’10 Year Challenge’. 

From bathing in milk, to riders demanding 100 white doves, Carey is no stranger to eyebrow raising behaviour and she’s done it again with her latest post. Further proof that time does not control this superstar singer. 

 “I can do this in monks’ robes”

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When a Japanese monk was recently fined by the police for driving while wearing a kimono – as it “could affect safe driving” – it started a social media revolution, with other members of the community taking to social media to prove how unrestrictive their traditional attire is. 

Monks have shared videos of them skipping, skating, juggling and performing acrobatics to demonstrate their point, complete with the accompanying “I can do this in monks’ robes” hashtag (#僧衣でできるもん).

Kylie Jenner vs. an egg

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In February 2018, Kylie Jenner announced the name of her first child on Instagram. The shot of Stormi Webster received over 18 million likes, making it the most popular post on the image-sharing platform. 

However, in January a plan was hatched for an egg to topple the Kardashian Queen. A week later and the egg had received more than 32 million likes and counting. Not to miss a PR opportunity, Kylie shared a response of her frying an egg on the streets of SoCal. 

 Money talks 

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Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, recently used his vast wealth to achieve the accolade of the most shared tweet in history. 

Using the carrot and stick approach, the Zozotown founder incentivised followers to achieve his goal by promising ¥100 million ($920,000) in cash to 100 people who followed his account and retweeted his plan to travel to the moon with Twitter’s most controversial man, Elon Musk. 

Platform Updates

By Alex Jeater

Social Media Innovations: January 2019

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram messaging services to merge 

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Probably the biggest social media story so far this year is the announcement by Facebook that it intends to integrate Facebook messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. The integration would allow users to share messages across the three platforms seamlessly. For example, a WhatsApp user would be able to text an Instagram user without needing to switch applications – a development that has many benefits for brands wishing to communicate with customers without users needing to be logged onto a specific platform. 

 

However, there are concerns that such a move could mean a loss of security on WhatsApp – a platform that offers end to end encryption (a feature not offered in full on Facebook or Instagram). The merger of the messaging service could also see Facebook fall foul of EU anti-trust and privacy laws.

Netflix adds Instagram Stories sharing 

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On-demand video giant Netflix has announced that it will now allow users to share artwork from the TV show or film they are watching direct to Stories, complete with a 'Watch on Netflix' link at the top left of the image.

 

It’s likely that an increasing number of brands will copy Netflix and start to integrate sharing on Stories to help build awareness of products in an authentic, social manner. 

 

LinkedIn rumoured to be launching lookalike audiences

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In the past few months, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of client requests for LinkedIn content and Ads. Part of the reason is that the platform has notably improved its offer, and now offers a range of new services including carousel images and better targeting options. The algorithm is also relatively straightforward to build impressions organically. 

 

One of LinkedIn’s rumoured new improvements is the launch of lookalike audience for Ads – a feature that will allow even better Ad performance on what can be an expensive social media platform. Just another reason why you should consider LinkedIn in 2019 - even if you aren’t in the b2b space. 

5 Social Media Trends for 2019

By Alex Jeater

1.     Shopping on Instagram 

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While businesses have been able to add product information to Instagram posts since March 2017, so far the platform has been a little slow to monetise the process – with users required to click though to the retailer’s website to make a purchase. However, its rumoured that Instagram is developing a standalone shopping App that allows users to purchase products, which could revolutionise the shopping process.  

2.     Serialised Video Content Goes Mainstream 

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On the back of the success of Netflix, Facebook launched Watch, its own video platform of TV shows back in 2017, and has seen some limited success. However since its launch the platform has gone on to air some critically acclaimed shows, such as Sorry For Your Loss, and also added Watch Party– a feature which allows people to watch and comment throughout the duration of a show. Expect better quality content from Facebook (and YouTube) in 2019, and higher viewer figures. 

3.     Stories Continue to Dominate 

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Instagram recently stated that Stories account for 60% of traffic on its platform – a staggeringly high number. Indeed, since the Stories feature was introduced, dwell time on the platform has increased from 11 to 29 minutes. However, with Facebook’s revenue under pressure it will be interesting to see how far the platform pushes monetisation. For example, will un-skippable Stories Ads be introduced? 

4.     The Rise and Rise of Chatbots

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According to Facebook, there are already 300,000 active chatbots on Messenger, a number which is likely to increase in 2019. Indeed, with recent surveys showing the majority of customers prefer to message over calling, and customers expecting service 24/7, its likely that chatbot integrations will continue to grow throughout the year. 

5.     Visual Search 

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While visual search isn’t likely to be a trend that will explode in 2019, we love the idea of simply pointing a camera at something to find out more information or record data - so much so that we have added it to our list. Early adopters should check out Pinterest Lens.

 

 

TSC Inspiration: January 2019

By Sophia Littledale

Sir David Attenborough Takes the ‘People’s Seat’

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Sir David Attenborough is internationally renowned for his forward-thinking approach to climate change. He has famously been quoted saying that “a failure to tackle climate change will be a catastrophe for the planet”.

As part of his work with the UN, the naturalist was recently invited to take up the ‘People’s Seat’ at the opening of the UN’s environmental talks in Poland. 

The People’ Seat was created by the UN to give ordinary people a place at the table with politicians, to remind them that “they aren’t working in a vacuum. They are dealing with real people’s futures.”

In his role, Attenborough gave an impassioned speech, made up of climate change concerns from the general public, to world leaders. The comments were submitted via the #TakeYourSeat hashtag on social media – again demonstrating the power of crowdsourcing on social for serious issues such as climate change.  

Wetherspoons parody account unveiled

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Pub chain heavyweight JD Wetherspoon has taken legal action to force Twitter into revealing the person behind two amusing parody accounts, @SpoonsTom, and @Wetherspoon__UK (account suspended).

Despite the pub chain leaving Twitter in April 2018, it is keen to unmask the prankster, who is believed to behind both accounts, claiming that the tweets are “abusive” and misleading to its customers. 

During the case at the High Court, the humour was not lost on the judge, Victoria McCloud, who laughed out loud as one parody tweet, sent on the morning of England’s World Cup semi-final with Croatia, was read aloud in court;

“As it is England’s first World Cup semi-final since 1990, it looks like Gareth Southgate won’t be the only one wearing a waistcoat on Waistcoat Wednesday. Anyone wearing a waistcoat in ANY of our pubs will receive one free drink during the England-Croatia match.”

At the hearing the judge ordered Twitter to disclose information relating to the identity of the person behind the comedy accounts be disclosed by mid-January. 

May this be the death of the prank social account? 

Azealia Banks, Jack Dorsey and his Beard Hair

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In one of the most bizarre stories we’ve heard in a long time, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, has allegedly asked Azealia Banks to make a protective amulet out of his beard hair. The aim is to protect him from evil, in particular ISIS, who recently threatened Dorsey. 

The rapper confirmed the rumour by tweeting that Dorsey had “sent me his hair in an envelope because I was supposed to make him an amulet for protection.”

Azealia Banks is also set to benefit from the deal. Dorsey has apparently promised to promote her mixtape Slay-Z in exchange for her promoting his cash transfer app, Square and crafting him the magical object. 

To date, Dorsey has yet to tweet about the amulet, suggesting he is yet to receive the gift.  

 

Social Media Innovations

By Alex Jeater

The 5 Key Platform Updates from December 2018

Instagram Feed Fail

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At the end of December Instagram tested a new format for its news feed which required users to tap a picture on their feed to move forward or back through pictures (similarly to Stories). Progress through the images was tracked horizontally, rather than in the traditional downward scroll. However, following a community backlash, the Facebook-owned photo sharing platform withdrew the test, stating that it was only meant to be a small trial. 

On 10th December Instagram did introduce voice messages for direct messages – a feature that it intends to keep, and has also enabled users to share music via the question sticker on Stories

Instagram Creator Accounts

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It was also revealed last month that in 2019 Instagram is to test Creator Accounts which will be specifically designed for influencers. Creator Accounts will feature a message filtering service and also provide additional analytics to help individuals better understand, connect and grow their personal following.

Facebook Adds Camera Option to Messenger

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Last month, Facebook rolled out new features to its Messenger App, including boomerangs, selfies and stickers. In borrowing such features from Instagram, it’s clear the social media giant is attempting to get people to engage with and use Messenger more frequently, as it attempts to monetize the platform. Facebook also announced earlier in December that it is to start testing Ads within its search toolbar – an Ad placement it first introduced back in 2012, but is looking to reintroduce following a slow in overall revenue. 

Pinterest IPO

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Finally, it is rumoured that Pinterest is preparing for an IPO. The photo sharing platform, which has Ad revenue of $700mn and 250mn users, is reportedly going public in early 2019. 

Visual Search on Social Media

By Sophia Littledale

Forget voice, the future of search is visual

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Visual search – the use of AI to understand the content of images (typically taken on a smartphone) – is one of the key growth areas on social media, and one which will significantly impact how customers discover products in the future.

Over the past few years, a number of social media channels have been making steps to develop visual search functionality; Snapchat is collaborating with Amazon to enable its users to take a photo of an item and search for similar products online; Pinterest has developed a visual search feature, Lens, which allows users to point their camera at items of clothing or home décor and be shown similar designs on the platform; while Facebook is also working on image-based technology to help users find what they’re looking for.

However, no company has invested more in visual search than Google, which has developed its own tool, also called Lens. According to the tech giant, Google Lens can now identity more than one billion products. To put this into perspective, this is four times the number the technology had at launch. 

Google Lens has also been designed with practicality at its heart. Indeed, its own research found that 15% of smartphone pictures are of practical things, such as receipts, business cards and to do lists, rather than objects of portraitures. As a result, Google Lens allows users to save information contained in a picture, such as names and phone numbers found on business cards, directly to the contacts section of a smartphone.

Google has also developed Style Search, which works in a similar way to Pinterest Lens, but in addition to finding similar products, also allows product reviews and shopping options which can drive conversion.

To show its commitment to visual search, Google has outlined its vision for Lens in the below:

"As computers start to see like we do, the camera will become a powerful and intuitive interface to the world around us; an AI viewfinder that puts the answers right where the questions are - overlaying directions right on the streets we’re walking down, highlighting the products we’re looking for on store shelves, or instantly translating any word in front of us in a foreign city. We’ll be able to pay our bills, feed our parking meters, and learn more about virtually anything around us, simply by pointing the camera."

While voice search has been touted as the next big thing for search, particularly with the development of smart home devices, it is visual search that boasts a greater capacity and range of functionality. We’re keeping our eyes wide open to see how quickly visual search will take off.  

TSC Inspiration – December 2018

By Sophia Littledale

In Homage to Paul Danan 

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It’s official, Paul Danan, is back and better than before. The former Hollyoaks, Celebrity Love Island and Celebrity Big Brother star has inadvertently become the latest social media sensation, as he (or rather, someone) tells the stories behind some of the most memorable celebrity photos of the nineties and early noughties. 

 

With the recent resurgence of all things 90s, it’s no surprise that Danan’s spoof tales of D-list celebrities are gathering widespread support. The unauthorised @paul_danan_official Instagram account has 62.5k followers to date, despite only launching this summer. 

 

Highlights include candid tales of nights out with Dean Gaffney, Calum Best, Darren Day, Dane Bowers, Natalie Cassidy and more. 

It’s a Lidl bit funny… 

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Last month, John Lewis released its big budget, Christmas advert illustrating the career of Elton John. The advert tells the touching tale of Elton receiving a piano as a boy, which proves life-changing. 

 

While Twitter has launched its own The Real John Lewis Ad, discount grocer Lidl also jumped on the back of John Lewis’s advert with its own campaign, entitled “It’s a Lidl bit funny”, which ridicules the grandiose gift from the upscale department store. Lidl then went on to suggest that music lovers could start their career with a cheaper keyboard from their own store; “Just because you don’t have £872 to spend on a piano, doesn’t mean you can’t be the next Elton”, while marketing its own keyboard, costing £89.99.

 

Meanwhile John Lewis, hit back. The department store tweeted, “It’s a Lidl bit cheaper”, while sharing a link to ‘My first piano’, costing £15. Nicely played. 

A BBC journalist has perfectly summed up how many people feel about Brexit

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In a clip which has gone viral across social media (well, Twitter), a BBC journalist has given perhaps the most honest review of Brexit by a commentator yet.

 

Giving his assessment on BBC Breakfast, BBC political correspondent Chris Mason admitted in a piece to camera that he hasn’t “the foggiest idea” what will happen with regards Brexit and the likelihood Theresa May will get the deal through parliament. 

 

He then went on to add; “Is the Prime Minister going to get a deal with the EU? Don’t know. Is she going to get it through the Commons? Don’t know about that either. I think you might as well get Mr Blobby back on to offer his analysis, because frankly I suspect his is now as good as mine.”

 

Many fellow journalists took to Twitter to praise Mason for his honesty. The Spectator editor and Daily Telegraph columnist Fraser Nelson said Mason made an “important political point: no one has a clue”, while The Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn said Mason “speaks for all of Westminster”. 

#NotARetailStore

By Sophia Littledale

The Other John Lewis Stars in Twitter’s Christmas Advert

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At this time of year, John Lewis causes a social media frenzy when its Christmas advert is released. However, this year there’s been more online buzz than before - all in thanks to the launch of Twitter’s own festive ad that’s related to the other “John Lewis”.

 

Each year, The US computer science lecturer, John Lewis, receives more than 50k tweets that are meant for the British retailer, but go directly to his own personal account. 

 

Despite his profile stating that he’s ‘not a retail store’, the now cult hero often replies in good nature with witty responses. The vast majority of these exchanges occur in the build-up to Christmas, particularly about the department store’s seasonal advert. 

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To highlight this humorous story, Twitter teamed up with the other John Lewis, and the department store, with a tongue-in-cheek parody playing on a case of mistaken identity. The music, lighting and tone are all consistent with the department store’s past ads, and the campaign was entitled #NotaRetailStore, as a nod to Lewis’ bio. 

Needless to say, it’s taken the Twittersphere by storm. You can see the full Ad, here.

However, it’s the knock-on effect that this campaign which really makes it a success. Elton John himself, start of this year’s John Lewis retail campaign, has got in the act, by celebrating the lecturer’s fanboy tweet. 

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This saw a surge of responses from followers campaigning for John Lewis to receive an Elton-themed Christmas present. John Lewis (the retailer) got in on the act and not only thanked him for his part to play, but also sent him tickets to Elton John’s farewell concert as a token of its support. 

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While Twitter is not the only brand to produce a tongue-in-cheek response to John Lewis’ Christmas advert this year, it’s succeeded in being the most ingenious idea. It’s also a subtle way for the social media platform to highlight the importance of conversation, a key feature of its platform, whether you’ve been invited to the party or not. This, coupled with the fact that it’s self-aware and not overtly promotional, has made it a phenomenal success.