Social media apps have been part of the social marketplace for long enough, yet now more than ever users are looking to get more out of them for less time spend. A study from SimilarWeb, which contrasted the app time spend of the key four social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, showed a significant decline in the time users spend in-app. Most alarmingly, Instagram time spend decreased by over a third, and Twitter by over a quarter. With the old guard having struggles to varying degrees, let’s take a quick look at what social media apps you need to know about, that give you value without taking up your time. We’ve even gave you some handy videos!
Curiously, this is a fairly new development – Reddit apps have often been provided by third parties, and found high levels of growth. Yet, not enough as entice the owners to make one – until now. They’ve woken up, embraced what everyone has wanted, and built their own. With a glossy interface and early growth across iOS and Google Play, this could be the tool that gets Reddit out of the shade and into the spotlight. But whatever you do, don’t go in there thinking you’re going to make millions in sales without giving value.
We touched on this a short while ago, but Twitter have made a big investment into Periscope in the hope that integration with this live streaming superhero will turn around their fortunes. Despite the decline in app time on platforms like Snapchat, it’s important to consider that videos typically gain 8-10x more engagement than more traditional forms of copy. As such, this can represent a great opportunity for businesses and users alike. Need more evidence? Just ask Chewbacca Mom about the value of live video.
Ok, you caught us – we’re a little biased on this one. But with good reason. We’ve been featured in some interesting articles, and offer users and small businesses the chance to use our automation tools to manage their social media. Users can decide how active or inactive they want to be, safe in the knowledge that SoGrow is building a targeted and relevant audience. Not convinced? You can try it free for 30 days, with no obligation or contract to stay. We’re big believers that our social media app could help change the way that people spend their time on social media – more focus on creating engaging content, less time on the boring leg work. What’s not to like (other than self-promotional parts of blog posts…*ahem*)?
Modern Wall Street’s helpful video above helps explain Peach, the social media platform for iOS that’s fast becoming the hottest property in mobile circles. Essentially, Peace serves as an aggregator and provides a walled garden – everything is on the platform, and you don’t need to leave it. Get the best and most relevant content for you, your friends and your connections, across all key social platforms in one place. To put it simply, Peach pulls everything into one place. The lovechild of Twitter, Slack, Instagram, Snapchat, and Outlook – in other words, worth checking out. Looking for a more detailed insight? Influencer Carlos Gil, reviews it here.
Facebook, described delightfully in The New Yorker as “a tyrannical boy king with a short attention span“, has tweaked the News Feed. Again. As is their right, of course. But let’s consider the reasons why. Facebook have continued to alter the algorithm, the API, and everything in between with the core underpinning values of “Friends and Family Come First”, and “A Platform for All Ideas”. These two lovely but naturally opposing concepts can make it difficult for anyone, from the social butterfly to the social media marketer, to really know what’s going on. So let us turn to our qualified friends at TechCrunch, for a breakdown of how Facebook decides the content you get in the News Feed…roughly.
Consider the above, for a number of different functions. Firstly, everyone hates ads. This is a near universally accepted truth. People will tolerate a targeted ad, and will enjoy an entertaining ad. But, on the whole, if taking all ads everywhere and contrasting against all natural content – there’s only one winner. We can take two things from this. One, that this is why ad agencies get to charge what they charge (and rightly so). Two, that the way business approaches Facebook is going to change. People who use their Facebook Pages have long bemoaned the fact that Facebook was becoming less about engaging content and more about digging deep into our pockets. With this update, we can expect to see the Facebook News Feed heavily favour the updates from your friends and family, and filter out business and celebrity. The result? Referral traffic and reach is going to struggle to gain traction naturally, so if people are to see more from your page, they’re going to have to like or share from it. Here’s what we think are the top three things to consider for the latest Facebook man-child update.
1) Likes and Comments could stop being vanity stats.
Ask anyone who’s paid for a lot of Facebook ads, and many will confirm that the goal is to drive relevant and targeted people to your website, and get them to purchase. This makes sense, or rather it should, because this is how advertising works. Show the pretty picture, person likes the pretty picture, buys the pretty picture. Repeat ad infinitum. However, if company pages and content are going to be less prominent, this might not be as possible without a substantial backing of relevant likes and shares. We’re cautious about pushing it, but are inclined to say that in the not to distant future we’re going to see much more “like and share” focused content – as even if a user likes the page, they might not see your content without a friend sharing it. Good for the user, who will hopefully find more enjoyable and less sales-focused content. Bad for the social sales funnel, which might have got a little longer.
2) The Small Biz Cash Grab hits Publishing
You’d be forgiven for thinking while reading this that we resent Facebook. It’s far from true. Hell, we’re hoping to be able to automate everyone’s social media and help you find success – we can’t do that without the biggest platform. However, the fact remains that for many small businesses and retailers, Facebook has been far more pay-to-play than it ever really should be. To naturally choose to depress small business content, on account of a limited initial footprint, makes it near impossible to gain traction without digging into your pocket. In many regards, this is a fair price to pay in order to be part of Facebook’s glorious empire. But, it’s still a sad day for publishing. News, as we know, is rarely cheerful. Doom and gloom sells papers, happy go lucky news doesn’t. But the same is rarely true on social media. Consider the recent criticism of Twitter, and the reliance it had on the news of the day to gain clicks and capture your attention. Publishing of news is a vital part of a social economy, and it feels a real shame that a tightly squeezed sector will be forced to get the wallet out to reach the people who already want their news. More news behind a paywall is not an enjoyable thing.
3) This will almost certainly fail
The Facebook algorithm is an evolving and ever-changing being. As such, it’s not fair to look it in the eye and say it failed, because it’s only ever a few hours or days away from another tweak. And anyway, Silicon Valley is built on the principles of failure. Facebook is an angry teenager, who’s techno we must learn to love. And like an angry teenager, they’re going through changes they don’t quite understand – all this content from all spheres, overloading their mind, on top of having lost out on the girl they loved to Microsoft, before claiming they weren’t all that into her. Most people, rightly or wrongly, get a little bored with seeing the same people talk about the same things everyday. Humans are creatures of habit, and to keep the platform fresh and retain users, we need to be able to see new content from new people. This can’t work with the existing News Feed state, and in time, will gradually be adjusted.
The short summary – This is just a phase, and Facebook will come around. Everyone stay patient, and be ready to give them a big hug. We always loved Facebook, no matter how messy their bedroom is.
Edinburgh Castle was built on a volcano. An inactive one. But still, quite why anyone thought this was a good idea is up for debate – one can only assume that planning permission and building control wasn’t quite as big a deal back in the Iron Age. Fortunately, given that we haven’t seen trails of molten kilts and ginger wigs flowing through the streets of the city, there’s not been an eruption. While there were of course great tactical reasons for building the castle at the top of a volcano, it’s also reflective of the inherently romantic and “live for the day” nature of Scottish innovation – if it goes wrong, we’ll fix it tomorrow.
This never say die thread of thought has found itself at the heart of Edinburgh start-ups, and nowhere more so than in the technology sector – where only the bravest dare venture against the behemoths of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and all other branded electronic goods. And yet, Edinburgh has become the home of our own technology giants, including some of the most disruptive, prominent and valuable companies. Booked a holiday through Skyscanner lately? Played Grand Theft Auto? Watched Sky? Maybe you did all three on a Dell computer? If you did, chances are, someone in Edinburgh played a part in your experience.
There’s a term to describe many of these companies. And somewhat aptly, considering they’re the national animal of Scotland – it’s the Unicorn (No really, it is. Pinky promise.). A Unicorn, is regarded as a private company valued at $1bn or more. In Edinburgh, there’s a number of businesses who have either achieved this status, or have the potential to join them – and the spotlight is shining brighter than ever. From companies like SoDash, providing highly advanced social media analytics, to brands like FanDuel leading the charge for Fantasy Sports, Edinburgh is the place to be. Indeed, the technological volcano hasn’t only erupted across Edinburgh – it’s booming across Scotland. Across in Glasgow, companies like Zapcoder lead the way in social games. Head further north, and healthcare technology is booming in Dundee, as VFT recently secured £10million funding for it’s medical device innovations. Indeed, Dundee University received a £2.2 million grant for it’s dialysis research. Clearly, the “City of Discovery” continues to live up to it’s name.
In many ways, we shouldn’t be surprised that the country that gave us the telephone and the TV continues to innovate. Yet, when more and more businesses head to Palo Alto instead of Peterhead, we have to wonder why? With so much technological innovation in the Scottish economy, aren’t we set to become the first future-proof economy? Given that Moore’s law is increasingly set to expire, the next set of advancements in technology are increasingly unlikely to come from power – it will come from precision. The scalpel, instead of the sledgehammer. And with the finely-tuned innovative companies that continue to blossom across our landscape, we’re excited for what comes next. Home is where the heart is, and technology’s heart is in Edinburgh.
Content marketing, that alien buzzword creature. What a ridiculous notion, that by putting out sufficient quantities of high quality content, someone could attract customers without reaching out to them. A curious idea, indeed. Except of course, we’ve now seen it work. Inbound marketing strategy typically results in more leads, conversions, and best of all – does it for much less financial cost. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional outbound direct mail, or even *gasp* picking up the phone. However, with the success of content marketing, came an overwhelming number of blogs, guides, tips, tricks, and endless more channels that can guarantee you ever more fantastic results. So, as we move towards the next phase of Inbound Marketing, how can a brand look to position itself and stand out from the crowd? A TrackMaven study back in February suggested that while the amount of content produced last year rose 34%, engagement on these decreased by 17%. What this means, is that it’s a saturated market. And as such, we need new ways to stand out. The answer, is in automation.
According to brandpipe, marketing automation is now worth a monumental $5.5bn as an industry. Across the board, it’s the go to tool for finding new leads, nurturing, distributing content, and maintaining engagement. There are no shortage of automation tools that can help you share your content – from MailChimp for your e-mails, to (wink wink, nudge nudge), SoGrow for your social media automation needs. The responsibility of the marketer, entrepreneur, business owner, or key communicator is to establish which channels best connect with each type of customer, and segment accordingly. Not every e-mail will drive traffic, just as not every Tweet is going to generate brand new business. However, the right blend of marketing channels will bring you the best chance of having your content seen by the right person.
How do we identify the right person? There’s two ways that we can look at this. Option A, is the creation of targeted content, and sharing it with the appropriate audience – this would be the “talk at” the audience model. This is an excellent way to raise your brand awareness and make people conscious that your brand exists and performs. However, let’s consider an alternative, Option B, Permission based content marketing. Now, that sounds like an impressive phrase that you can drop into your performance review and show off to your line manager, but what does it actually mean? Ever gave a website your e-mail address to receive an e-book, access a guide, access a trial, or anything in between? You’ve actively gave them your permission to be contacted. Not only does this make sure that your marketing operations remain strictly white hat and avoids the sending of unsolicited e-mail or other contact – the numbers don’t lie. It’s a few years old now, but in a study from 2011, opens on the opt-in lists were twice as high as those who hadn’t consciously given permission. Better still, not only did it receive more opens, the click-through rate on these e-mails were double the average engagement. In the years that have followed, there’s nothing to suggest this trend has really changed.
The Next Step
The moral of the story. Automation isn’t a scary thing, and is a force for good – when used with active permission based methods. The same applies to all channels – messages to your followers about your product is reasonable, messages to the world about them can be less so. To bridge the gap, and achieve opt-in results, it’s important to get your brand in front of people and deliver your value proposition. SoGrow, lets you do just that. Learn how, at www.sogrow.co.uk
Before the seemingly unstoppable rise of Snapchat, Instagram was very much regarded the place to be. The concept of a picture telling a thousand words is far from new, but can it really be used by business to succeed? Certainly, the integration with Facebook’s advertising platform offers no end of opportunities for engaging visual copy to succeed. But can it convert into something worth the investment?
Consider for a moment, that Instagram didn’t exist. We’d still like to share attractive pictures of ourselves and our surroundings to our friends and the world. Would we text them? Of course not, nobody likes a show off. Plus, only one person would realistically see it. Therefore, what need does Instagram actually serve? The answer is, it provides us the best means of promoting the best possible version of ourselves to as many people as possible. Why were people upset that a Facebook algorithm was set to kick in? Because it removes the chronological chaos. For those unaware, Instagram typically worked like a giant free for all, in which the best photos and content would rise to the top of the pile through the community. When the announcement came that it would prioritise your friends instead of the random force of the Instagram bubble, people were more than a little sad. Before, anyone could be Instagram famous for a day and have their message go viral. Now it needs engineering. Horrible news for the innocent civilian, but tremendous news for the data-driven marketing teams of the world.
With the recent addition of Google Analytics tracking codes for links on Instagram, they’ve made it entirely clear in the plainest terms that they want people to measure their success on the platform. This isn’t a move that would be made, if people weren’t successful. Indeed, there’s already an industry around individuals being sponsored to post about products – and it’s booming, and growing. Companies like Thuzio continue to grow and find success, connecting the right influencers with the right brand, at the right time to deliver maximum value for advertisers. In many regards, this is where we see Instagram being particularly useful. It offers a means of being incredibly visual, and if content is promoted by the best person for a specific audience, it offers the best way of making a first interaction. Platforms like Instagram, more than many others, allows for the positioning of a brand expert much faster than many others. While someone’s Twitter authority is typically measured by the number of followers held, and a Facebook page by it’s number of likes, Instagram authority is all about your most recent image – presenting the opportunity for anyone to be the “go-to-guy/girl” on any issue.
The conclusion? Instagram very much offers business value, but in order for it to succeed – it absolutely must be picked up by the right people. The platform, in addition to third party tools such as SoDash, Thuzio, and SoGrow (who have Instagram automation coming soon!), offer an excellent means of identifying the key influencers for your industry. What matters most next, is tailoring your content to meet their needs. And that, is something we’ll discuss very soon!
It’s absolutely no secret that Twitter’s a social platform with a lot to prove. Growth has slowed, leadership has been questioned, and there’s a feeling that the forthcoming big changes to character limits is the last roll of the dice. However, there’s been some more subtle tweaks that we reckon not everyone knows about. So here’s 3 quick points;
1) Connecting Contacts
Last Month, Twitter realised that without following the people you know, it’s not particularly “social” media at all. After all, if we wanted 24hr news, there’s no shortage of places to get it. To combat this, Twitter introduced the Connect tab, allowing you to search through your contacts for people to follow. Not only this, you can also receive recommendations based on location and the types of people you already follow. To get there, follow Twitter’s helpful guide below;
2) Go Live
It feels like everyone has seen “that” Chewbacca Mom video, and it goes to show the value of live video. Indeed, even Facebook prioritises live streams in the newsfeed, making it a great way to get the message out quick. If we look across to Snapchat, we see the value of video even more pronounced, with videos gaining 8-10x more engagement than traditional text or picture driven copy. If you’re lucky enough as not be tied to an Apple device, some users will see a “go live” button which connects you to Periscope, and lets you show a live feed on Twitter. Gone is the 140 character Q&A.
3) Images, Polls, Videos
We’re not quite there with this yet, but one big change to keep an eye on – especially if you’re a fan of visual content – is the coming removal of media counting towards your character count. This will also apply when you’ve used any @handles to reply. Not the biggest change in the world, but one that opens up a world of possibility. Considering that a link and a photo consumes 48 of your 140 character, you’re now going to open up around 20% more Tweet space. Don’t waste it.
Any other big changes that we’ve missed? Comment below!