Facebook owned Instagram is capitalising on the massive popularity of GIFs through the introduction of a new App called Boomerang.
Specifically designed for the smartphone Boomerang enables users to take a photo burst of 5 pictures that become looped as they in Vine but for a much shorter period.
Why might this work for business?
Photos, videos, Gifs, animation are all hot methods of engaging with eyeballs online and specifically the increasingly cluttered world of social media. Historically for the untrained and impatient amongst us creating a Gif was rather a faff. Now you can do it with one click.
Finding a creative use of moving images, even if it is as brief as 1 second can help make that business stand out from the crowd.
It’s very new, having only launched 22nd October yet major brands have immediately seen the benefit of the app. Timberland and Elle both showed flicking through their content whilst the Rugby World Cup social media team scored and converted with their early adoption and 1 sec clip of South Africa’s Schalk Burger before their clash with the Kiwis.
The apps key strength is its simple straightforward use, it is pretty much idiot proof…even I could immediately get the app working although my target subjects were not so easy.
It’s also incredibly easy to share the new moving content via a variety of platforms, obviously Instagram and Facebook plus Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ etc..
You can find the app in your devices store under Boomerang from Instagram. Download, have a play and see how it might add some all important interest to a product, service or topic you want to highlight.
The sat nav takes you to a 3 star hotel and reception direct you down the hall to a small conference room set out with a large screen, small table with perched laptop, spaghetti wiring a plenty, trestle table with coffee jugs, cups and a dozen round tables with brochures sprayed on them like confetti at a giants wedding.
The rhubarb, rhubarb murmuring of human interaction bounces around the room. Suits liberally scattered throughout with some sat at tables talking intently to an obvious work colleague asking when it might be “ok to leave”. Others are trying to look important by holding their phone up to their ear and nodding along with saying “yes but don’t go a pound under 50,000….” You suspect there’s no one on the other end of that call.
At the far end of the room, furthest from the stage you have the cynically subscribed. This is the group, like you, who have been told to attend but in all honesty would rather staple a post it note to their forehead with the word “bored” written on it in black ink. They look for fellow cynics and poke fun at the small turnout, quality of bacon bun and when it starts whatever the presenter says.
You survey this scene and eyes fall upon someone who is actually watching you. Before you can break eye contact they walk over and introduce themselves…too late you’re networking or are you?
Ok so I paint a rather dystopian view of a networking event but I guess we’ve all been there at some time, others more often than most. So what can be done about the obligatory networking opportunity and how can you make the time work for you?
The first point is possibly the hardest, especially if you’re not the boss and have been asked to attend. Be brave. Ask the obvious question before you access Google maps for the location. Ask why? Why this event?
This might be viewed as insubordination by insecure or controlling bosses or just the question you should be asking by the more enlightened. If it has been thought through as to why your company time should be spent at this particular gathering then you are about to be educated. On the other hand if it has not been considered it might be a weak attempt at ticking that “marketing” action on a personal development list. Maybe it was put forward as “one your competitors would be at” and “worth keeping an eye on” during the business development meeting you missed. Any way around there’s a chance you’ve drawn the short straw.
Why? is such an excellent question and we just don’t use it enough. We blindly go along with the flow not prepared to disturb the status quo or fear for our job if we dare to question an instruction. By simply accepting an instruction without question I would argue that we run the risk of wasting not only our own time but that of the business. If it is indeed an opportunity what is it and how can it be best maximised?
Quite often an event might look dull and lifeless but within it lies a key nugget; and no that’s not the chap who turned his back on the audience to read his PowerPoint word for word. It is the connection, piece of information, intelligence that can be gathered.
A little research before an event can prove invaluable. Who’s attending? Which companies? What level? Who are the speakers? What’s the key message they’re conveying? Once you have this data you can begin to build a picture and determine if it is an event that you should attend, only then do you have the “why?” answered.
It could be as simple as a key client will be presenting and you want to show them that you are interested in what they have to say and keep up to date with their thinking. If that’s the case let them know you’re there, ask a question but make it a positive and memorable one. Talk to them after the presentation and make sure they know who you are and where you’re from.
If travelling in numbers to an event have a plan. Decide who is doing what. One takes notes of the presentation, another is charged with connecting with the key decision makers but don’t stick together for mutual comfort, it will achieve far less. What can be beneficial is an introduction if your colleague is best suited to a connection made at the event, make sure they get to see them for themselves.
By undertaking research, planning and setting out key objectives your mind set for the event is clear. It’s amazing how an individual with this behind them can appear so much more purposeful and confident and ironically find themselves attracting others who wish to connect. Remember to keep the key objectives in mind, do not be distracted by time-wasters or the cynically subscribed.
7 Top Tips for Networking Events
There are a variety of networking events. The broadly social with a hint of business “pub quiz” invite from your friendly accountant to the more commercially focussed and structured “we all know why we’re here” weekly gathering. All can have merit but none should be blindly accepted. A little time thinking, researching and planning can save you a fortune in wasted energy.
Pick up a copy of a business magazine, webinar, SEO whitepaper, workshop agenda or open one of those hundreds of marketing tip e-mails [not all such e-mails are the same of course 🙂 ] and the chances are you’ll not go far before the word “content” is mentioned.
If you want your website to be a successful shop window for your company you need it to be well furnished with content, lots of it, all shapes and sizes, colours, creations and categories……or do you?
Call me an old cynic…but when I start to sense a trend forming and a bandwagon being jumped on I have a natural inclination to run in the opposite direction. Sure SEO is important but what if you produce masses of poor content? All that will prove is that you’ve created a big website full of “stuff” that nobody is going to read let alone share. Surely the idea with this facet of marketing is to produce quality, focused material that appeals to those who you have identified as your target audience. Badly written and presented content will have the adverse effect. I would argue that even if you did rank higher as a result of your prolific production once anyone clicked on it they would be more inclined to bounce straight out again. This would only create a negative impression.
Ok back to basics, what is “content”? Does anyone really know or is it just another “buzzword” that sounds good but has little thought behind it.
Content varies from the obvious written word, blog, news update, article to more visual and increasingly popular sources such as infographics, webinars and other video based productions such as YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Meerkat and Periscope.
Just for starters WordPress report that there are 42.6 million blog posts per month. Now imagine how that number is going to escalate with the buzzword of the year “content” driving marketing activities. Add to the written word the growing trend of video posts and you’ve a very busy and somewhat cluttered space in which you’re trying to make a name for yourself.
A) You can just see the common scenario developing where a young marketing manager, having read all the latest guides, asks the MD to produce a blog for the company. The MD is very busy but she knows this buzz of blogging and “thought leadership” is the thing she really should be doing…so she writes one. It’s not great but it is her first effort. The marketer doesn’t feel that they can correct the boss so is left with no option but to post it. No one comments on it, it’s only read by staff internally who universally agree the MD should stick to running the business.
B) Or what about a situation where no one in the business has the time to write an article or blog so they look around for help. Now for the purpose of balance I must advise that yes, there are excellent copywriters, journalists, wordsmiths who have both the intelligence and skill to produce high quality “home grown looking” material that is both informative and easy to digest. Unfortunately given the “content” Goldrush we have no shortage of prospectors panning for nuggets but finding fool’s gold, those who look the real deal, talk a good game but simply don’t understand enough about the business and the best way to communicate with their target audience. In this example the business spends a large chunk of their annual marketing budget on an agency who simply fails to connect with the client and produces low grade results albeit in large quantities. The company sacks the agency when the MD asks a few pertinent questions at a board meeting such as “Do they own a dictionary” “Have they met our production team” “Why are the web visits up but the engagement down?” The result, the agency blames the client and the resultant lack of business demonstrates the importance of having a well thought through strategy that involves communications that connect with the target audience.
So what should you be doing?
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact David Laud via twitter @davidlaud or call 08456 446624
A short while ago I was asked to present at a Practice Management Conference to owners and senior managers of law firms in the UK. The brief for this event was to present on the challenge of engaging with younger clients. A very topical issue not only for lawyers but many businesses facing the prospect of attracting new customers in the digital age.
Personally I find the topic fascinating and equally intriguing when you consider how little attention is given to thinking about the socio demographic make-up of potential clients. OK, my apologies to those marketers out there that have this all neatly packaged but note, you’re in the minority. There’s plenty of talk about addressing customer needs, presenting and delivering goods or services that appeal to a niche market but how many of us need to appeal to a broad spectrum of the population? How do we make that work?
For my presentation I didn’t want to talk solely about the youngest, newest client segment. Sure, talking social media and digital advertising would be sexy and necessary but in isolation would not place that particular generational trend in context with other older segments of the population. So there I had it. Let’s cover ALL bases and provide an overview of the generations and their likely preferences.
To kick the presentation off I asked the assembled audience which category they fell into. The options.
To truly test the audience of law firm senior executives I didn’t offer up the list in timeline order as it is above. I then provided the specific classification by year to determine exactly which group they would fall into with a little more detail as to the typical traits of each, the dates represent the dates of birth :-
Formal, private, loyal, trust, respect, face to face, written, value time
Competitive, aspirational, hardworking, want detail, like options, challenging
Entrepreneurial, independent, work life balance, sound bites, e-mail, feedback
Optimistic, confident, seek positive reinforcement, multi taskers, e-mail, text, skype
Connected, ethnically diverse, entitled,
When asked to then place themselves in the appropriate category it became quite apparent most had mistakenly considered themselves to be in a category other than the one they belonged to. This highlighted the fact that as a rule we don’t know which generation we are and probably don’t see it as being very relevant. That is a mistake.
Let me provide a couple of examples:
Mrs Marple is a recently widowed lady of 77. She is having her late husband’s estate managed by Swish Swash Law. Swish Swash pride themselves on being at the cutting edge of technology. “It’s all in the cloud man” “we’re totally paperless” “Have you seen our App?” “The websites purely organic and built for the mobile and tablet market” Yadda yadda – you get the picture. Well Swish Swash employ some very bright young lawyers and they are equally adept at their use of technology as they are at applying their legal knowledge. They have a 24/7 approach to service and in their best efforts to keep Mrs Marple informed they send an e-mail and follow up text to her to inform her of their progress. It’s sent at 9.15pm. Next morning a rather angry daughter of Mrs Marple calls the lawyer who sent the text explaining that her mother had been asleep and got very stressed when the message arrived thinking anything sent at such a time could only be bad news!
As a Traditionalist Mrs Marple would prefer face to face communication, a phone call would be ok as would a letter but only during normal office hours. This generation values privacy and whilst very hardworking they do not always appreciate the 24/7 immediacy of life preferring a more ordered and sensible approach to working hours.
My 2nd example features Jordan, a young entrepreneur who is setting up a business with a couple of friends he met at University. They have plans to launch a business offering animation and augmented reality software solutions. They need help with setting up the company and creating a partnership. Jordan’s father has recommended the family firm Boggit Down & Co. Established in 1888 they have a long tradition of serving the local people of their small market town and cover private and business clients services from their grade II listed high st office. Reginald Smythe (63) is the head of company commercial and a partner. He receives a call from Jordan’s father and askes his secretary to arrange a meeting with the 4 young men.
Jordan receives a call from Edith, Reginald’s long standing secretary and she has difficulty arranging a time when they would all be available, they finally settle on a date 3 weeks hence. Jordan receives a letter 3 days later inviting him to the offices and setting out the terms of an engagement with Boggitt Down & Co. Jordan and friends are not impressed. They wanted to get things up and running pronto, they can’t wait 3 weeks and quickly decide to find a lawyer who can see them that week..or even better be prepared to have an initial e-mail exchange to provide advice and help them get started. They Google for law firms who understand software businesses and find two within 10 miles of Jordan’s home town and a third that offers online support nationally.
As a Generation Y/ Millennial group the young entrepreneurs are quite confident, assertive and expect rather more instant returns. The culture clash with the very traditional firm of Boggitt Down & Co. is too much and they can see that the firm is not going to “get” them or their business. Boggitt Down & Co. has not moved with the times nor understood the urgency of their need to set up this business. The firm simply presents itself as it has done for years and not adapted to the preferences of a new, informed and impatient generation.
Two simple examples that do genuinely occur on an all too regular basis. But what can firms do if they need to win and maintain clients from a cross section of the generational divide?
In my firm we have a mixture of baby boomers, generation X’s and recently introduced generation Y partners. The business is evolving and the factors that impact on the outward facing communication with clients are equally prevalent with internal communications. Being aware of those subtle differences in attitude and approach to work is becoming increasingly important. The generation game certainly is one for all the family – just don’t forget your *cuddly toys.
*(That final reference places me firmly in my Generation X category, but equally recognisable by baby Boomers and Traditionalists apologies to any readers who are too young to remember the classic Saturday night BBC show of the 70’s and 80’s)
If you would like to discuss marketing support for your firm please feel free to contact me to arrange an initial no obligation meeting
The dust is starting to settle after the initial rather mixed response to the Face “book” lift applied to twitter accounts.
You get a rather gentle prod by the platform to decide if you really do want to give it a go but I suspect like many the temptation to see what the fuss is about mixed with the nagging fear of being left behind drives users toward the new look layout.
Personally I don’t mind it, I think it’s a natural evolution but it’s also strikingly similar to many other sites and for a great number of twitter fans it’s a step too far.
But what exactly is all the fuss about?
Is it progress?
My personal view is that it adds certain useful features, in particular the pinning of tweets to the top of your profile page. One problem I see with the changes is the proliferation of smartphone and smaller tablets and their use over PC and laptop. You can now take photos and post so easily from these devices that they are quickly taking the place of the traditional methods used for online interaction. As it stands the new changes have not migrated fully to mobile device formats but no doubt it’s just a matter of time before they do.
i2i’s Managing Partner, David Laud, recently contributed to a discussion on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour concerning the increased use of technology in the home and its impact on family privacy.
Click the link below to hear the clip
This brief discussion covers a growing domestic problem and highlights the need for parents to stay up to speed with social media platforms and the exchanges children are having.
David is interviewed by Radio 4’s Jenni Murray and joined by Ruth James who runs a blog to help parents with teenage children. http://survivingteenagers.co.uk/author/survivingteens/
As Barack Obama appeared through the huge curtains at the Chicago Convention Centre his smile said it all, the crowd nevertheless said it for him, over and over again, a little like a re-tweet, “four more years, four more years….”.
With the economy far from recovery and very tough times forecast the US electorate have remained faithful to the Democratic Presidential incumbent.
Obama’s feisty Republican opponent, Mitt Romney had but one task, admit defeat gracefully and in a very public address he did just that.
No doubt the networks will be poring over the multitude of statistical data that such events spew out but for me there is one clear set of statistics that left me in no doubt of the outcome.
The evidence was part of our modern history.
In the Spring of 2011 a political wave started, initially overlooked by those in power. All too soon their underestimate of the strength of this wave became apparent due in no small part to the turbo charge push of social media platforms.
But four years before the Arab Spring, back in early 2007, a relatively unknown senator was running for president against Democratic nominee and household name, Hilary Clinton. But on November 4, 2008, Obama then 47 became the first African American President winning an election against Republican candidate, John McCain.
Mr Obama turned to social media platforms to gather support, raise funds and engage with volunteers the essential foot soldiers of any successful campaign.
Fast forward to the US election of 2012. Presidential wannabe Romney was trying hard to compete on twitter, facebook and Linkedin but unfortunately for the Republicans he was up against an opponent who is a natural social media communicator with a team of dedicated experts supporting his social media broadcasts.
Enough of this blogging rhetoric what about the facts?
On Twitter Mitt Romney has a respectable 1.7 million followers and has made 1,350 tweets. But just compare that to Barack Obama’s 22.7 million followers and 8,000 tweets.
As if those figures weren’t bad enough Michelle Obama has more followers than Mitt at a very healthy 2.2 million.
On Facebook Mitt has worked hard to match Barack but even his 12.1 million page likes pale compared to the re-elected presidents 32.8 million page likes with over 3.5 million actively talking about the content.
Google Plus – smaller numbers, but we’d guess at that. Obama 2.3 million +1’s with Romney less than half at 1 million +1’s.
Of course it’s not all about the numbers but if your message is being broadcast at those levels through these channels you have a major advantage, especially if your demographic fits the profile of the more active social media users.
As if to prove the point Obama’s victory tweet showing his embrace with wife Michelle and the quote “four more years” is now the most re-tweeted tweet of all time, so far RT’d over 650,000 times beating someone called Justin Bieber (you know who he is you just don’t want to admit it – ed) who’d held the record at 223,000.
Whether it proves to be the right decision for America only time will tell but one thing’s for sure, if a politician has any serious ambition they need to understand and harness the true strength of social media.
David Laud – Marketing Consultant
i2i Business Solutions LLP
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org follow me on twitter @davidlaud
“like” our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/i2isolutions
My daughters and in fact now my son, all teenagers, would be more than happy to tell you that I’m no expert on the world’s largest social media platform.
Compared to them and I suspect the vast majority of the teenage user demographic my personal posts would look rather tame, dare I say boring but then I’m not trying to connect to that age group. I do have a few family and friends who fall into the sub 20 category and they politely comment or “like” the odd post as I in turn return the compliment.
All very civilised, and that’s how I like my Facebook but I’m acutely aware that many have a very different view of the site and use it for baring their souls or at the very least the pain of their morning hangover. Facebook can also encourage narcissistic behaviour, posed photos craving “likes”, surveys to re-enforce your view of your personality or who of your friends think you’re the best looking…”Pleeeaasse!!!” save me from this.
Back to the matter in hand my challenge as a marketer is to try and understand all communication mediums and see how they best apply and work for not only my own personal use but in a business context too. Facebook presents the biggest challenge for many businesses.
Sure, Lee Cooper, Amex, Red Bull and many others have very slick Facebook pages and are making the medium work by adding multi layered engagement programmes which include clever competitions and “like” fests. These multi million dollar corporations can and do spend to develop these campaigns but can we learn anything from their efforts, can a Facebook page help your business?
The simple answer is “yes” if the true objective to having such a presence and the audience to whom you wish to connect is clearly understood.
On my personal Facebook page I’m not interested in building a “friend base” of hundreds, (I don’t have that many friends 🙁 ) its purpose is to help me stay connected with close family, friends and an alumni offering a varied and entertaining news feed. For my part I hope to add value to their feeds through my posts…sad as they may be according to the Laud clan.
When it comes to business or personal profiles we should really apply a similar philosophy. You know who you want to engage with, the messages that you want to share and the response you’re hoping to gain.
Despite my earlier negative jibe the Facebook “like” is solid social media currency. By creating an interesting, funny, poignant post that resonates with your network you can build a bank of “likes” and even better if it stimulates readers to comment back.
Unfortunately this clammer to be “liked” has led to a proliferation of cause related posts. A good friend likened them to a type of “chain letter” which is an excellent analogy given the implication that not liking the particular post meant you were by definition taking the opposing view. So therefore ignoring these posts meant you liked cancer, bullying, mistreating small dogs and generally suggested you change your username to Voldemort. All complete and utter nonsense yet many of us do click “like” on these posts and gain a little sense of community in feeling part of a group taking a stand against a particularly offensive topic.
So no I’m not an expert but then I’ve yet to meet a true expert in any social media platform. They move too quickly to be tied down analysed and given a de facto conclusion on how to use them. We all use Facebook in slightly different ways, there is no single correct way but there are plenty of poor examples.
For business or personal pages my advice is to be clear as to your purpose, keep the audience in mind and be consistent with your message. Don’t be disheartened by the lack of response to a particular post, in offline life there’s many a time friends would groan rather than laugh at my jokes. The key is consistency and believing in yourself. Of course we are all slightly different in a relaxed social setting than we are at work. The same approach should apply.
Facebook isn’t Linkedin but the business page won’t be enhanced by the type of content you’d normally deliver to your friends. An edge of professionalism touched with an element of fun is where I find my Facebook business page personality. I’d like to think that’s not a million miles away from how I am physically at work. Easier to be true to your own personality or culture of the business than to try and reinvent yourself for each social media platform.
By being consistent across platforms you’ll gain respect and understanding from a multitude of networks.
If you’re just starting out with Facebook for your business please feel free to drop me a line or comment and let me know how you’re approaching it. Be great to hear of a variety of ideas.
To find us on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/i2isolutions
David Laud – Chartered Marketer FCIM