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Business Lessons

New social media classes announced for the Summer in London

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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?

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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.

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 info@avocadosocial.com. 

Twitter Success Masterclass 2017

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CENTRAL LONDON, 9AM-1PM WORKSHOP, 6th APRIL 2017

Do you need to master Twitter? Always wondered how to grow your followers, and use it to approach influencers?

This half day workshop will cover all of the essentials to help you become a power user, including scheduling tools, hashtag research, and Twitter Advertising. For a full agenda and booking information please follow the link.

£149.00

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Avocado Social Gets #SheMeansBusiness Facebook Accreditation

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Our Founder Alison Battisby recently visited Facebook’s European Headquarters in Dublin to gain official #SheMeansBusiness Accreditation. What does this mean? What did she learn? Find out in our latest blog…

Facebook and Enterprise Nation recently launched the #SheMeansBusiness initiative in the UK, after identifying the need for more women to upskill in areas such as digital marketing in order to start and grow their own businesses.

That’s where I come in, as one of the eight chosen UK experts to offer support and practical training to a large (but achievable) target of 10,000 women over the next year.

In order to do this, I first had to get my official accreditation from Facebook which involved two days in the Dublin office hearing key learnings and trends from the “horse’s mouth” as it were.  Being at Facebook was absolutely fantastic, not just because of the free food, but the atmosphere within the building is very exciting. The position of power Facebook has across the world is amazing, and there are some very clever brains whirring away on inspiring initiatives and projects constantly. It’s certainly an exciting place to be!

Check out the rest of our pictures from our Facebook trip here.

Here are some of the key things we learnt:

    • The Facebook algorithm is completely unpredictable – and it doesn’t necessarily favour the big brands. There is every chance your small business posts are appearing in the newsfeed for your target audience.
    • This all hangs on how relevant you are being. The more relevant your updates to your target audience, the most engagement they will get. You should be looking to tell engaging stories to gain a personal connection with your audience.
    • Setting up your Page correctly (using Audience Optimisation on your Page, utilising the free tools available such as scheduling posts and instant replies).
    • Video and Carousel posts are extremely popular and using this kind of rich media can grab your desired audience’s attention.
    • It doesn’t have to be high budget content – there are plenty of apps and tools available to help you to create incredible graphics within needing to hire an agency or graphic designer.
    • One of the most popular questions I get asked is “How often should I be posting to Facebook?” and the official answer is that it really depends on your customers. Facebook advised to put yourself in your customers shoes and to ask ‘Are you being useful or annoying?’
    • Facebook’s darling brand Instagram was also a key focus of the training – with key advice being to keep it as simple as possible.  Try to avoid text if possible as the majority of users don’t use this – the focus is on amazing authentic “thumb-stopping”.

There are so many other hints and tips I have to share, and so look out for many events over the rest of the year. To start with, I’m presenting an evening on Facebook for Business with Enterprise Nation in London on Thursday 23rd February. Tickets are available here, but be quick as they’re selling fast! 

 

Our 7 Social Media Trends and Predictions for 2017

By | Avocado Social, Business Lessons, Social Media, Social Media and Workforce, Social Media News, Social Media Platforms, Social Media Strategy | No Comments

We get asked all the time ‘What’s the next big thing in social media?’ so we thought we’d put together our top predictions for 2017 in a blog post.

Social media is one of the fastest growing and ever changing industries around, with new developments, trends and behaviours coming out every day.

From working with some top brands, speaking to Facebook and listening to the industry commentators, here are our top predictions:

  1. Rise in GIFs

We’ve noticed a huge increase in GIFs this year, which are short looping video clips that usually last between 1-3 seconds. Twitter integrated free GIF provider Giphy into its app in February this year, and Instagram’s standalone GIF app Boomerang soared in popularity over the summer. Brands from Chanel to Subway are using these short form videos to grab the attention of mobile users in the newsfeeds. Who is going to watch a 2-minute video in social media anymore!? (apart from the John Lewis Christmas Ad of course!) In 2017 we will see a rise in smaller brands, and small businesses utilising GIFs to show off products, and of course personality.

2. 360 Video

Zuckerberg is really pushing 360 videos, having just used it to capture his daughter’s first steps. We haven’t seen many examples of brands using 360 videos yet as it requires a specialist camera – but perhaps innovative brands such as Burberry and AirBnB will invest next year. Check out this example from National Geographic! The feature is a fantastic way to tell a story in a more interactive way. If you take a panoramic photograph on your iPhone and upload it to Facebook, it will become a 360 photo – try it, it’s very cool!

3. WhatsApp for Business

Many businesses have tried setting up shop on WhatsApp in a basic form, as a way to engage audiences directly in a private setting. The platform receives over 1 billion users every day, and is apparently used by 1 in 7 people on earth! We love following Battenhall’s WhatsApp broadcast for our daily fix of social media news. We know a personal trainer in South London using it to engage VIP clients with daily motivation and recipes. Gregg’s this year launched a VIP WhatsApp channel for hardcore pasty fans! We wonder what next year will bring, especially with the messaging app apparently looking to release a Business version.

4.Workplace Social Media

A huge amount of businesses are using social media in the workplace to collaborate and communicate with their peers. We are huge fans of Slack, for example. Facebook Workplace has soft launched, and we’re particularly excited to see more businesses adopt it for messaging, live video, forum chats and project management. If you’re interested, signup and take the demo webinar. Obviously, there is a whole host of questions that comes along with it, like house rules, codes of conduct and time spent on it – but could this mean the death to email within a few years?

connect_better2x5. AI and Social Media

A big trend set for 2017 is the use of Artificial Intelligence in social media, particularly when it comes to customer service and also data analysis. The rise of digital assistants, such as Siri and Alexa means we are used to speaking to robots to get things done, and chatbots are set to become mainstream in 2017. This will allow brands to answer commons FAQs automatically, and utilise customer service representatives for more in-depth issues.

6. Algorithm Squeezing

As social media builds in noise, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all set to continue to squeeze their algorithms meaning only a tiny amount of what we post to our business pages will be placed in the newsfeeds. The solution to this is social media advertising, which means you can reach desired audiences which you select by age, interests and location, with paid-for adverts. The winning formula here is to use custom audiences; those that have already engaged with your business in some way before.We are set to see more and more businesses using these tools and only expect more in 2017. If you’re interested in building your knowledge, come to our next workshop.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our predictions and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

Boost Your Business – harnessing upcoming marketing opportunities

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BOOST YOUR BUSINESS, HARNESSING MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES, CHISWICK, 19th OCTOBER

This is a must attend event for any West London small business who wants tips and ideas from professional marketing advisors on how to increase customer engagement and grow their business in the run up to Christmas. It combines practical sessions with our inspirational key note speaker, Cath Kidston MBE, and the chance to meet and network with fellow local businesses. Avocado Social will be offering some specific social media tips and great examples to follow on the build up to Christmas.

£10.00

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Avocado Social Instagram Cheat Sheet

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

We find ourselves searching for the answers to quite a few of these Instagram related questions often, so we thought it best if we put them all together into one handy cheat sheet.

There are quite a few limitations and tricks to be aware of in the hugely popular social media tool.

It’s important to be aware of them when posting to ensure that you don’t receive any error messages that might hinder your activity.

We’ve also included a few tips into our cheat sheet so that you can make your posts more engaging:

Likes

You can only perform 350 likes per hour (unless you’re very quick not likely you’ll hit this limit!)  This is to prevent spammers and bots, which are software allowing you to buy likes and followers. We don’t advocate these bots as they tend to buy you fake followers, who then get removed by the social media platforms.

Followers

You can’t follow more than 7500 users according to Instagram.

However, some users can follow more than 7,500 users if they did so before I
nstagram imposed the limit. Some Instagram users also claim there’s an hourly limit to the number of users you can follow and unfollow. This is rumoured to be 160 per hour, although Instagram has not confirmed such restrictions.

We like to use the apps Cleaner or Followers + for cleaning out and mass deleting users. They are both free and can help you to work out where to focus your activity.


iOS Profile iPhone 6

Word Count

Whilst the limit on Instagram posts is 2,200 characters, we don’t recommend writing an absolute essay on Instagram! People scroll through quickly, so you want to grab their attention by using succinct sentences that inspire and tell stories in brief.

Your Instagram biography needs to be kept to 150 characters or under. Don’t forget to include a URL link!


Hashtags

Instagram limits you to 30, which we believe to be a good thing. Too many hashtags can be off-putting to your audience and could make you appear a little desperate for engagement! We recommend using somewhere between 5-10 hashtags, whatever feels right. Don’t forget to keep testing different tags, and not to use the same stock group of tags for every photo you upload.

Posts

There’s no limit on how often you post on Instagram, or how many times. If you change your mind after posting, you can delete each post individually but you can’t delete them all. Remember Instagram is your shop window so ensure that everything looks beautiful and relevant.

Filters

Did you know that there are 27 different Instagram filters that you can use to make your photos look beautiful? This infographic from Canva details which are the world’s favourite filters. Can you guess which it is?

It’s a good idea to use the same or similar filters each time for consistency. If you are looking for more, then the app Afterlight has 75 more!

Emojis

If you’re a fan of emojis (which we are massively!) then you’ll be glad to know that you can use them in your Instagram posts. This is a great way to make the posts more engaging and to help you stand out amongst the chatter. Did you know you can also hashtag an emoji!? #💚

That’s it for our Instagram hacks for now, but if you want more then join The Avocado Social Media Hub, our free Group for the latest social media updates, great examples and case studies, and support. 

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How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

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Instagram this week launched Instagram Stories, which means users can post photos and videos that only last for 24 hours and don’t sit on your main feed. It is aimed to encourage more everyday, raw content on the channel.

They have come under fire for a straight copy of Snapchat, but we think Instagram Stories offers a much more user friendly solution. For a start, you don’t need to exit Instagram to use Stories. They are displayed at the top of your home screen, as you can see below. You can always see your own story first:

IMG_3921

As with Snapchat, you can customise your creations with text, emojis, and draw straight on top of them. It’s thought that filters will be coming to Instagram too.

Every user (including business profiles) has an Instagram Story which can be viewed in the Instagram homepage, and you see the stories of everyone you follow.

IMG_3879IMG_3880

 

Click their profile picture at the top of Instagram and see a slideshow of everything the user has posted to their story in the past 24 hours.

Techcrunch called Instagram Stories ‘Snapchat for adults’.

“It’s a way for brands to post more without overwhelming people’s feeds, an alternative to Instagram’s Like-driven success theater or a blatant ripoff,” wrote Josh Constine in Techcrunch.

When confronted about Instagram Stories being a clone of Snapchat Stories, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom surprisingly admitted “They deserve all the credit,” but insisted “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.” Read more of the Techcrunch interview with Kevin Systrom here.

So how can your business use Instagram Stories? 

The beauty of the quick clips and bespoke image allow brands to maximise on countdowns, flash promotions and event based content.

Another popular piece of content used by brands so far is behind the scenes footage, telling a story or introducing the people behind the brand. Stories allows you to view who’s seen your Instagram likes story and in what order.

Our 5 top tips: 

  1. Use bright images to stand out
  2. Customise your Stories with text and emojis to make them unique and personal to your business
  3. Share something interesting – not just for the sake of it! There seems to be quite a lot of mundane content being shared so far…
  4. Try to share a Story a day to make sure you appear in the top bar of Instagram. This is such a great opportunity to stand out to your target customers, rather than replying on them coming to your feed.
  5. Stay consistent, using a tone of voice that’s right for your brand. Remember to keep it professional at the end of the day!

These two examples below are from small businesses that we are big fans of. First, organic chocolate brand Doisy & Dam have been sharing stories behind the scenes at their production house, showing you their gorgeous chocolate in the creation process. As well as this we get to see founders Richard and Ed showing off their sense of humour with some silly faces!

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Another great use was by personalised gifting and stationery business Love Give Ink. They shared a Story about their new honeymoon memories book being featured in Wedding Ideas Magazine. A great piece of PR for them, and a nice way of displaying the news without interrupting their beautiful Instagram feed.

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*EVENT*

We’re hosting a free evening event, ‘Small Business Success with Social Media’ on Tuesday 13th September in London, featuring Doisy & Dam and Love Give Ink

Grab you tickets and find out more information here.

Top 5 Tips For Live Tweeting Events

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Live tweeting an event has become the norm for many business and event attendees. More often than not, dedicated tweeting at an event is now an integral part of the marketing strategy to enhance the reach and impact of trade shows, industry marketing moments, seasonal launches and company events, according to Twitter.

Here’s a quick round-up of tips for effective live tweeting:

  1. Be sure to add photos to make your tweets visually compelling. Good quality, varied shots taken from a unique angle increase the likelihood of retweets. Posting high quality photos of the event’s speakers, delegates or engaging shots of the venue can really help bring your tweeting to life.  It may sound elementary, but making sure you’re well prepared ahead of time and have a good seat can make all the difference. Worth considering are photo editing apps such as Adobe Photoshop Touch, Camera+ or even Instagram which can do wonders for tidying up images if the lighting quality is low at the event.
  1. Tag people in the photos, not the text – that way you don’t affect the character count in your tweets. Twitter has made it easy to tag up to 10 people at a time in each photo you share on Twitter. Every person who is tagged in a photo will receive a notification in their interactions tab, so doing this increases your reach and influence.  You might also want to consider inviting attendees of the event to tag you / your business in their photos of the event – this helps build relationships with existing and potential customers alike.Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 18.19.26
  1. Get the hashtag right. Familiarise yourself with the official hashtag of the event if you’re a guest, or if you’re creating one for your own event, make sure that everyone knows about it. Displaying it around the venue and on pre-event communications can help position it as front of mind and makes it easier to be seen.Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 18.19.10
  1. Use direct quotes when you tweet ideas and quotes from speakers. Be sure to mention their Twitter handle and use quote marks (and the event hashtag!) so it’s clear that it’s from them. Before you tweet a quote, ask yourself whether it is going to provide genuine value for your followers. It can be tempting to tweet everything, but a little discernment goes a long way.

The screenshots above were taken from our client, Headspace Group‘s live #TalkingHeads panel which we live tweeted. 

There are also plenty of opportunities to build your audience after the event as well: keep the conversation going by re-connecting with new followers, share analytics or promote blogs summarising the key takeaways from the event for example. Let us know how you get on in the Avocado Social Media Hub.