Category Archives: Social Media

What do Instagram sponsored ads mean for brands?

InstagramAs of 23 September Instagram has started serving brand sponsored ads on its platform to users in the UK. Its approach to the roll out is refreshingly sedate, only allowing a small number of hand-picked brands to participate, following strict guidelines for both content and frequency of posts.

But what does this ultimately mean for the platform? I think we all understood in April 2012 when Facebook paid $1 billion to bring Instagram into its fold that this wasn’t going to be a free ride and at some point the platform was going to have to sing for its supper. Are the introduction of ads, and the new revenue stream they bring with them, justification for the hefty price tag spent on its acquisition?

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The opinion machine

opinionWhat’s your opinion, right now, this second, today, right now, yesterday?!

Phew. Sometimes, trying to keep up with all the impulsively-expressed opinions floating around on social channels makes me wonder whether eventually, after years of relentlessly posting countless quantities of them, humankind will eventually evolve into nothing more than engorged brain connected to a super-lithe index finger that’s a blur of frenzied clicking.

The human need for self-expression is what drives it all, of course. With the means to broadcast one’s opinion to large audiences being so ubiquitously available, it’s never been easier to make oneself heard. And, with the immediacy of the big platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it’s never been as fast. Read More »

Why brands must overcome ageism to succeed in paid social

Social mediaBrands can no longer assume that young people use all social networks or that older people are not getting involved. It just isn’t the case anymore. Different groups of people use different social networks and it continues to evolve. Brands failing to realise this will find their social media campaigns falling at the first hurdle as they throw good money after bad.

With Social Media Week London taking place this week, we analysed the demographic breakdowns for each network. We found that an impressive 45% of Facebook’s users are aged 35 and above and the number of users aged over 55 has increased by almost 10% in the past two years. All other ages have declined. Facebook is clearly no longer just a young person’s game. Read More »

Lost for words in the age of the image

writing by Pedro Ribeiro SimeosThe use of email by America’s 12-17 year olds more than halved last year. It’s one symptom of a cataclysmic change – one that’s gone largely unnoticed by the marketing profession.

There was a time when people wrote letters to each other. Have you written a letter to a private individual (i.e. not a utility company, solicitor, etc) in the last five years? Do you know anyone who has? I thought not.

The golden age of letter writing is long gone, along with Dr Johnson and Charles Dickens. But Virginia Woolf died in 1941, leaving behind volumes of personal correspondence. It’s only quite recently that letter writing has been consigned to the dustbin of history. Read More »

Money can’t buy you affinity

Money by Tax Credits:FlickrIncreasingly, consumers and the markets alike favour brands offering content that can be easily shared. The news site BuzzFeed, for example, has just secured $50m of funding which, according to The Guardian, raises its value to three times more than the Washington Post. BuzzFeed’s whole concept has been designed with social media in mind (apparently 75% of its traffic comes via social media users) and it rewards its writers not by the number of readers attracted by their work, but by the number of times their articles are shared online.

It’s clear that BuzzFeed is becoming one of a new breed of ‘strong’ brands. However, traditional methods of evaluating brands don’t take social status into account. So current brand rankings such as the Interbrand index are more likely to reflect the size of a promotional budget rather than the loyalty and engagement of customers.

For instance, Samsung has featured highly on the Interbrand index for the past five years. Yet it’s known for mimicking the design of competitive products and buying market share with large advertising budgets. On the other hand Apple earns its valuation by investing in product alone. Read More »

40% of UK millennials don’t like the way brands talk to them via social media

twitter social media conversationIn this hyperconnected, omnichannel age, brands need to fully understand the consumer audience they are trying to reach, the best channels to engage with and the most effective strategy to adopt in order to do so.

More and more brands are realizing the power of social content and using user-generated content to provide tailored products and services, and personalised and valuable content.

Surprisingly, a recent study by Initiative has revealed 40% of UK millennials feel negatively towards the way brands communicate with them through social media. Globally, 30% are cynical about the way brands market to them, with 58% agreeing that they have the potential to be a force for good.

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Nine tips for managing social media at scale

social mediaManaging social media at scale can be a tricky balancing act. You need to have strong direction from the central team, yet give local teams enough leeway to be creative. You need to stick to budget, yet have enough resource to adequately staff the campaign, and have people on stand-by if they’re needed to deal with better-than-expected response.

How can brands ensure they will be able to manage a global social media campaign successfully? I’ve just co-authored a whitepaper on the issue, and here are my team’s top nine tips for getting it right.

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Twitter trials ‘Buy’ button

Twitter Buy buttonTwitter is finally taking its first crack at e-commerce by testing a “Buy” button in the US that lets shoppers buy directly from a Tweet.

According to Twitter’s blog, the button is just the first step in the social network’s plan to build more functionality into the site and transform the way we shop with our mobile devices.

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The #VeryBeautyTour takes off on Instagram

Very.co.uk's #VeryBeautyTourBrands including Babyliss, Illamasqua, Nails Inc, Max Factor, Murad, Real Techniques and Bourjois will be showcasing their products on board Very.co.uk’s ‘Very Beauty’ bus, touring the UK this autumn.

The online fashion and beauty retailer’s £600,000 campaign has been designed, planned and executed by Posterscope, PSLive, Vizeum and Liveposter, bringing together digital out-of-home, experiential, social and user-generated content.

It aims to capture passengers’ “getting ready” moment, which can be shot in the on-board Instagram booth and shared on social media using the hashtag #VeryBeautyTour and the Twitter handle @VeryNetwork.

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Fashion, social media and the key to brand engagement

burberry London Fashion Week catwalkWhile social media certainly has its place as part of an overall marketing strategy, fashion brands need to look beyond the medium’s ability to simply drive short-term sales. Social media has proved itself to be a very powerful tool in some circumstances, but when it comes to clearing clothes rails its effect on our immediate purchasing decisions may be less powerful than commonly assumed, while its real potential remains overlooked.

Of course, popular brands will continue to clock up followers and endorsements on social media – ASOS is particularly good at this – but many of these individuals will be looking for opinions, reviews or customer service, rather than opportunities to make purchases. As such, a social media strategy designed purely to drive sales is going to deliver relatively poor ROI. Assessing the commercial value of a ‘fan’ on social media has long vexed digital strategists. How can you measure the value of different types of consumers – is a dedicated follower of fashion worth more or less than a fan of a specific brand? Read More »