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Alison Battisby

Facebook Watch: What is the new video platform?

By | Avocado Social, Social Media, Social Media News, Social Media Platforms | No Comments

It’s easy for new Facebook features to pass you by, but Facebook Watch is one of the most important changes we’ve seen for video content within the platform.

Facebook Watch is a video on demand service which is a move to compete against the likes of YouTube, Netflix and Amazon. The service will allow users to watch video content from outside of their networks  making it far easier to engage with content created by artists, brands, sports stars and publishers.

The service rolled out last year in the US as a new home for all Facebook video content, and is expected to launch in the UK in coming months. Publishers including Refinery 29, Hearst and Mashable were the first to launch Shows on Facebook Watch.

Watch features personalised recommendations of live and recorded shows to watch, plus categories like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching.”

A Watchlist feature will allow users to subscribe to updates on new episodes of favourite shows. Fans can connect with each other and creators through a new feature that links shows to Groups.

By hosting original programming, Facebook could boost ad revenue and give people a reason to frequently return to the News Feed for content they can’t get anywhere else.

Facebook has said that some of the content would be from “professional creators”, meanwhile others created by “regular people in our community”. Partners are said to earn 55 percent of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45 percent.

However, the monetization side is still developing in the US. There is some useful information here from video content can currently be monetized on Facebook, including ad breaks and pre-roll.

Users with access will see a TV-shaped Watch button in the bottom navigation bar of Facebook’s main app that opens the new video hub.

“As people are watching more and more video on Facebook, they want a place they can go to reliably and dependably watch video,” said Daniel Danker, director of product at Facebook. “A year ago, we launched the video tab, which did that, but it did not necessarily make it easy for people to keep up with the creators they know.”

Facebook will be looking for users to spend more time watching and discovering video, and also higher quality content being created by everyday people. On that note, we’ve just announced a new Facebook Live video in our Facebook Group, covering top social media trends in 2018. Sign up here.

Keep an eye out for this coming soon in the UK.

For more information, see Facebook’s newsroom here.

How to beat Facebook’s latest algorithm changes

By | Articles, Latest Articles, Social Media News, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Resources, Talks and Events, Uncategorized | No Comments

You have probably heard about Facebook’s latest algorithm squeeze, which was announced in the last week.

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.We built…

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, 11 January 2018


Facebook’s homepage, the News Feed, is changing with the aim of giving people more opportunities to interact with the people they care about. Facebook will be prioritising posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.

The algorithm will be prioritising posts that prompt conversations between friends and posts that people might want to share and react to, such as “a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion.”

This means if you own a Facebook page for business, it will be vital that your posts are seen as relevant, engaging and suited to your audience.

Here are some ways which you can help to ensure your posts still get seen in the newsfeed:

  1. Post content that is going to create a response: Facebook states that “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.” What can you post which is likely to get genuine comments – such as asking your community for their opinion, sparking conversation, and offering insight or expertise?
  2. Encourage your employees to help build engagement: Your employees are you most underused resource. Help them to understand the new algorithm change and the importance of social media for your business. Get them eager to share and engage with your Page – and reward them for doing so!
  3. Create a Group with a common interest: We run the Avocado Social Media Hub, which is a common interest Group all about social media tips and advice. As people are more likely to comment about a shared interest – it means Group activity is much more likely to show in the News Feeds.
  4. Go live: Live video is a good way to generate comments. Going live ad hoc is not a good strategy as it’s too random. Think about a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly ‘show’ you can produce featuring you giving expertise, perhaps a special guest, or colleagues which you interview.
  5. Get serious about influencer outreach: Don’t rely on your own brand pages alone to get out to your target audience. The power of influencers is real, and if well-connected, like-minded bloggers, or social media users with influence, talk about you and your brand then you should see an impact.

Looking for more advice on influencer outreach? Come to our free event this February at General Assembly – Avocado Social Presents Hot Social Media Trends of 2018 – tickets are available here.

Our 5 Social Media Predictions for 2018

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Home Page, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

One of the biggest challenges businesses are set to face in 2018 is keeping up with ever-evolving updates and changes within social media. The social media platforms are constantly updating their algorithms; the rules behind how your content is spread within the networks. This has a direct effect on your follower growth and engagement rate, and a lack of understanding can effectively silence your business online.

With over 50 million businesses using Facebook and over 25 million on Instagram, it’s a competitive landscape — but I feel that there are still some excellent strategies that can be adopted to enable your business to be found, remembered and trusted online. Here are my 2018 predictions:

1// A rise in niche communities: We’ve already seen a shift in businesses finding more niche communities to engage in, rather than trying to reach mass audiences this year. This has mainly been driven by the algorithms, but also a better understanding of hashtags and a rise in private Facebook Groups. I think we will see more of this behaviour from businesses looking to drive influence within targeted groups, rather than focusing on getting thousands of followers.

Instagram is already driving this behaviour with their new follow a hashtag functionality. This is an important change on the platform, as it allows you to increase your interest in certain communities and topics (#stationeryaddict, #farmhousestyle, #doorsofinstagram, #myeverydaymagic — just some of my favourites as the moment!) and encourages you to spend more time on Instagram. You should be thinking about which community-based hashtags your business can gain notoriety in, or even own.

2// Advanced advertising tactics: Without spending budget on advertising, social media can be hugely difficult to grow. We’ve seen the biggest fall in organic reach in 2017, meaning its harder than ever to ensure your posts are being seen in the newsfeed — particularly on Facebook. So many new features have been launched this year when it comes to advanced advertising, particularly around custom audiences. For example, you can target users with adverts who have recently engaged with your Instagram account. 2018 will see more brands advertising than ever before, and in more creative ways. If you haven’t installed your Facebook Pixel on your website yet, make this #1 on your 2018 To Do List.

3// Micro-influences continue to rise: Consumer trust in brands is set to hit an all-time low in 2018. Hootsuite predicts that “2018 will reward businesses that put their people — employees, advocates, customer communities, and influencers — at the centre of their marketing strategy.”

2017 saw the rise in the micro-influencer — an “everyday” social media user with influence over a credible following. On Instagram, these tend to be users with a following of 3K followers and above. Businesses will become far more strategic about partnerships with these micro-influencers and how they can get the most out of these relationships, rather than just simply paying them to do a promotional post.

                                                           Image courtesy of Hootsuite

If you’re interested to know more about influencer marketing, come to our free Avocado Social and General Assembly talk on 7th February. Tickets are available here.

4// Creative story-telling: This year saw huge developments with Instagram Stories, with many more creative features being added. Facebook Live is set to see some new updates, including split screens and customisation that will make it easier to brand your broadcasts. How will platforms such as Twitter and YouTube respond? 2018 will see brands getting hugely creative with their posts and videos, and countless apps will ensure our posts are “thumb-stopping” in that newsfeed. Take a look at these 13 hacks to help make your Instagram Stories stand out.

Facebook’s top recommended creative apps for 2018…         

5. Chatbots for customer service: Facebook’s Instant Reply functionality is a very useful tactic for businesses looking to offer a customer an instant response in Messenger. 2018 will see AI within social media go a lot further. Already this year, ASOS, Lego and M&S have launched Christmas specific chatbots to surprise and delight their Messenger customers, and we’ll see brands get even more creative as they come up with fun and useful ideas for chatbots. Will Facebook launch their own chatbot creator, in the style of popular DIY bot site Chatfuel? Probably. Learn more about chatbots at our talk in February.

Phewph! So we’re set for another great year of social media marketing and I’m sure we’ll see some new features and platforms emerge as the months go on. Personally, I’m looking forward to Instagram analytics getting a whole lot better, which Instagram co-founder Mikey K revealed would be happening at a talk I attended earlier in the year.

As always things are changing at rapid speed, and my advice is to ensure you are on top of the latest strategies. I run an active Facebook Group here, which is dedicated to sharing the best social media news and tips and is completely free to join.

I also run regular social media training workshops, both publicly and in-house at companies, which you can find more about here on our events page.

Here’s to another great year, and happy holidays!

The Rise of the Citizen Influencer

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Avocado Social Consultant, Ambi Mistry explores the rise of the citizen influencer, and asks how effective is this marketing technique compared to using celebrity influencers?

For many years now we’ve become accustomed to seeing celebrities and influencers using social media to promote brands. Whether it’s Kim Kardashian pushing tea, or Cristiano Ronaldo flashing his new ‘gifted’ watch, rarely a day goes by without our Twitter and Instagram feeds presenting us with a celebrity declaring their allegiance to a product, many of which are seemingly random, or unclearly related to the interests and audiences of the influencer in question.

A quick search of the ‘#ad #sp #sponsored #paid hashtags’ on Twitter or Instagram will demonstrate the proliferation of influencer advertising. At the time of writing #ad produced 3,624,741 hits on Instagram alone! It’s not difficult to understand why influencer advertising has seen such a fantastic uptake in recent years; brands want to tap into the colossal reach afforded by large numbers of followers and some of the most influential figures (i.e. those with followings of 1m+) can demand fees of up to $100,000 per post!

For example, Louise Thompson (above) and the rest of the Made in Chelsea crew are regularly seen pushing a plethora of brands to their 100K+ followers on Instagram.

Additionally in their 2015 report on Global Trust in Advertising, Nielsen found that 66% of consumers trust the opinions of others online versus on 42% stating trust in banner ads.  

But in reality, how effective is isolated promoted content by an influencer, who is happy to rave about your brand in a single post (often using copy written by the brand’s comms team, and therefore quite obviously striking a contrived, inauthentic tone of voice), and then never to mention your brand or products again?

In addition to this, the Advertising Standards Agency (and the FSA stateside) require all influencer ads across social media to clearly state that they are paid promotions, or else risk reprimand, which further strips influencer ads of real influence, as audiences grow ever wiser of the paid nature of endorsements.

Throw in a couple of widely documented influencer ad blunders, such as Naomi Campbell posting a picture of her new Adidas trainers on Instagram, and copy and pasting the exact email from their team as the caption, which embarrassingly read: Naomi, so nice to see you in good spirits. Could you put something like…”, and you can see why influencer ads may be becoming less effective.   

Certainly, influencer ads can help brands achieve a boost in reach and awareness, but recent data has shown that in terms of engagement, there is an inverse relationship between the number of followers and the number of likes posts generate. Influencers with less than 1000 followers were likely to see an 8% engagement rate in contrast to influencers with 10million + followers who only receive 1.6% engagement.

Welcome to the stage the citizen influencer, the social media user with a modest number of followers, who could help your brand engage an audience more effectively and efficiently than celebrity influencers with followers in the millions. Unlike celebrity influencers, brands are better placed to engage citizen influencers in a meaningful and authentic way, which need not necessarily rely on payment.

Whilst perhaps more time consuming, a campaign to engage citizen influencers in long term relationships is likely to result in higher engagement and ROI. Ways to do this may include investing in social listening to find the perfect, authentic opportunities to add value, such as by offering free samples or advice to citizen influencers when in need. Check out the great example from Esther, founder of TeaHuggers appealing for brand amabassadors below: 

Could your brand offer citizen influencers the opportunity to attend exclusive product-based events or experiences? Or perhaps seek their input when developing new products?

With celebrity influencer advertising proving increasingly ineffective and a growing emphasis on authenticity in brand activity, it seems the power of the citizen influencer is only set to grow! Power to the people!

>> Are you thinking about using citizen influencers? Looking for some advice and tips? Join our active Facebook Group here for free and let us know how it goes!

>> Check out Avocado Social’s latest social media events here to find out where we are teaching next.


What is an Instagram Loop and how does it work?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Great Case Studies, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

Have you heard of an Instagram Loop? Don’t worry, we’re about to explain exactly what this trend is.

An Instagram Loop giveaway is a growth strategy which bloggers and businesses have come up with to beat the Instagram algorithm and gain new followers. Much like the Instagram Pod, which we discussed in this blog, it involves finding a group of similar sized businesses and bloggers to work with as a team.

It works well for those looking to increase brand awareness and gain new followers, as you can team up with others that have a similar target audience to you.

How does it work exactly?

  • A Loop giveaway usually consists of 5-10 businesses or bloggers that pool together to offer one big goody bag or pool of prizes.
  • One engaging image is created by the organiser to advertise the giveaway, which shows all of the prizes. The idea is that each of the participants posts the image, and tags in the next business in the image.
  • This list of who tags who, and in what order is predetermined so that entrants follow the competition around in a loop.

For example: All Businesses involved in the Instagram Loop post the competition photo at 10am GMT on a Saturday. In the photo:

Business 1 tags Business 2
Business 2 tags Business 3
Business 3 tags Business 4
Business 4 tags Business 5
Busines 5 tags Business 1

This information (with Business names and @usernames) is sent around prior to the launch of the giveaway, along with the agreed caption and hashtags.

  • It’s important that everyone posts at the exact same time otherwise you will have a break in the loop. Remember people might be in different time zones, so make sure everyone in clear on the time otherwise it’s frustrating for entrants who can’t follow the loop.
  • The caption area of each photo is used to explain the competition to entrants. The caption should explain what the competition prize is, how long the entrants have to enter, and how they enter.
  • Typically in an Instagram Loop giveaway the entrants are asked in the caption of each photo to enter the competition by following each of the businesses tagged in the images and completing the loop back around to the beginning. Usually, entrants are also asked to ‘like’ each of the images in the loop too to further boost engagement and reach.
  • At the end of the competition length, which is usually a few days to give people a chance to promote

Want to look for examples? Just search for #loopgiveaway on Instagram.

What to consider?

It’s good to think about the other businesses you run the Loop giveaway with. Are their followers the right fit for your business? Is the prize that you have all pooled together appealing for your target audience? The idea with an Instagram Loop giveaway is that you can grow your followers and entice those new followers to become customers.

Is there a theme or holiday you can link your Instagram Loop giveaway with? Mother’s Day, May Bank Holidays or Summer are good ideas, to give the campaign more relevance and make the prizes less random. The prizes should be unique to each business to make them even more exclusive. For example, a best-selling or limited edition product.

The goal is to maintain the new followers you acquire long term, not have them unfollow you right after the giveaway has ended. It is advised to break the loop and to detag the businesses from your images so that it is more difficult for entrants to go through and unfollow if they have not won.

You may also want to consider running a promotion such as free delivery or 20% soon after the giveaway so that you can lure your new followers into becoming customers. If this is not relevant then you must consider how you can maintain their new followers, so make sure you keep posting great content!

>> Are you thinking about hosting an Instagram Loop contest? Are you looking for some advice and tips? Join our active Facebook Group here for free and let us know how it goes!

>> Check out Avocado Social’s latest social media events here to find out where we are teaching next.

New social media classes announced for the Summer in London

By | Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Training, Talks and Events | No Comments

Our founder Alison Battisby has been teaching at General Assembly in London for two years and is expanding her classes this summer to reach all social media abilities. 

The new classes include Social Media for Startups and Picture This! Instagram for Business, as well as bestselling evening courses Social Media Strategy Mapping and Social Media Advertising.

The classes are full of all kinds of strategies and tips for small business owners, marketing executives and freelancers of all abilities.

The classes take place at General Assembly’s gorgeous space in Aldgate, and usually take place in the evening from 6-9pm. You can book your places here.

What are Instagram Pods and how do they work?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Latest Articles, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

You may have heard of the terms Instagram Pods and Instagram Loops recently, particularly as Instagram picks up pace and gains more active users per month than other networks including Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Tumblr.

We’re all looking for new ways to “beat the algorithm” and ensure our posts get seen in the newsfeed. This is done now by either ensuring there is enough engagement (likes and comments).

Instagram Pods

An Instagram Pod is a group of people who have pre-agreed to like and comment each other’s Instagram content. The members of your pod become your Instagram family and the idea is that you all work to support each other in growing your communities.

These groups are either people that know each other personally, have met online through Instagram, or in other communities such as Facebook Groups.

The benefits of being part of an Instagram Pod is that you quickly gain more likes and comments on your post shortly after posting, therefore your posts will perform better in the algorithm. This could be a great way of growing your followers and finding new customers. 

The way Pods work as usually through an Instagram group DM with your other members, where you post a link to every new piece of Instagram content you create. This also means that you need to like and comments on your other Pod members’ content too. As you can imagine, if you are in a Pod of over 20 members this can get pretty overwhelming very quickly – and might put you off Instagram!

The best way of running Pods is to create a small like-minded Pod of other Instagrammers that complement your audience, such as this example below, Creative Biz Pod.

But, there are two potential issues with Instagram Pods.

This kind of activity becomes mechanical, and less natural. This means your insights into your account will be skewed and you won’t be able to understand which content resonates best with your audience. Your impressions, engagement and follower stats will be less accurate to the truth.

This means you will struggle to optimise your account, and to really understand the ROI of your activity.

Finally, Pods could be shut down at any point by Instagram, if they decide to include them as a clause in their Terms of Service. What Instagram could do here is block Pod users, or mark users as potential rule-breakers, and therefore their engagement received could be downranked.

Overall, we think Instagram Pods can become time-consuming and potentially dangerous quickly as they mean you are not getting the most out of Instagram. There’s no harm in liking and commenting on other business content in your network, or when you discover new accounts – in fact we very much endorse this behaviour as a way to grow!

But as soon as it becomes robotic and prescribed, you are heading into dangerous waters as this is exactly what Instagram is trying to crack down on.

Next week we’ll be looking at Instagram Loops to explain what they are, and to determine whether they are worth your time for growing your followers.

Is Twitter still an important marketing tool in 2017?

By | Articles, Avocado Social, Social Media, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Training | No Comments

Twitter has had its fair share of bad press over the last year, and one of the questions we regularly get asked at Avocado Social is whether the tool is still an important player in the online marketing mix.

The micro-blogging social network has shown signs of slowing down in growth, as it fails to attract new brand new users to sign up to the service. During the Trump election in the final quarter of 2016, Twitter only grew by two million users whereas Facebook grew by 72 million by comparison.

The service has been plagued in recent years with harassment, abuse, bullying, intimidation and threats – much more so than any other social media network.  So much so that last year a rumour spread online that Twitter was planning on shutting down in 2017 due to its failings in protecting people from abuse.

This doesn’t sound great so far – but Twitter has made a number of changes recently in a bid to combat these issues.

Recently the platform has added new tools that will identify people who have been suspended from Twitter and stop them from creating fake accounts, remove blocked or muted tweets from search results and identify abusive or “low quality” tweets in conversations.

Just last week Twitter launched its new Live video API, allowing companies to hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to the service with more powerful integrations than the existing Periscope Producer feature. Could this lure in more live video creators from Facebook and Snapchat?

So is the tool still important for your marketing strategy? 

Twitter is still an important player in the social media world, boasting over 319 million monthly active users. Twitter’s daily active user base is said to be growing, with many using it as a key news resource so checking the platform a number of times a day.

Reports this month suggested that 9-15% of Twitter active accounts are bots, which explains why your followers tend to go up and down regularly. This is something Twitter needs to work harder on.

There are three key ways we believe Twitter still has a very valuable place in the social media landscape for marketing.

  1. Customer Service: Twitter is still cited as one of the top places for customers to complain, so it’s extremely important to keep on top of any mentions of your brand. According to research, 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour. You don’t want to make a customer even more frustrated by not replying to their message. Positive content also deems a reply as this could spark the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a customer or influencer.
  2. Business Networking: We always suggest that simply tweeting your content out isn’t going to get you followers. We believe more meaningful interactions on the platform are where you can begin to stand out and make Twitter work well for you.  Chatting with other businesses and professionals through Twitter is a great way to meet new contacts, engage in industry trends and events and find potential opportunities. We have met many of our clients and colleagues through Twitter, and have heard countless stories of opportunities arising through recommendations and retweets on the platform.
  3. Research: Utilising Twitter for influencer research is a fantastic way of discovering new bloggers, magazines, and experts to engage with from a business perspective. We are a huge fan of Twitter Lists, the free tool which enables you to keep track of a select group of users around a particular niche. Twitter is also a fab tool to gain research around opinions relating to your products or to find out what your customers really think about a topic or trend.

So we conclude that Twitter still has a valuable place in your marketing mix, particularly in business to business contexts.

We don’t see Twitter will be disappearing anytime soon – and that’s why we’re running a Twitter Success Masterclass on Thursday 6th April 2017. For more information and to book, please visit our Events page.






Social Media Workshops at General Assembly

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Our founder Alison Battisby is a digital marketing and social media instructor at General Assembly in London. Explore workshops such as Strategy Mapping, Instagram for Business, Social Media Advertising and Social Media on a Budget. Click ‘Read More’ to see upcoming class dates. The classes are suited to all abilities and are aimed at inspiring you, offering up to date examples, and offering plenty of hints and tips.

£25.00 – 100.00

Read More

Twitter Success Masterclass 2017

By | Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Training, Talks and Events | No Comments

After our successful LinkedIn for Business 2017 event this month, we are continuing our social media workshop series with a Twitter Success Masterclass. The workshop will take place at the gorgeous Soho Works in the Tea Building, Shoreditch on Thursday 6th April 2017 from 9-1pm.

This half day workshop will cover how to use Twitter as a business or influencer,  including content strategy, for events based marketing and also the advertising side.

We’ll be covering the following:

– How to create a credible Twitter presence, that ranks in search

– A strategy for building your followers

– Content: What to post, how frequently, and how to best engage with customers and influencers such as bloggers and journalists

– Best practice posting: Hashtags, @’s, RT’s, images and video and the best way to use them

– A Guide to Twitter Advertising including budgets, content and tracking ROI

Our founder Alison Battisby will be instructing the course. She has both B2C experience with brands including Nokia, Pringles, Brita and Liberty of London as well as B2B experience with Fellowes, Michelin  Tyres and Microsoft.

The course will cost £149 plus VAT per person. To book your spot, prepayment is required. Please email