Category

Social Media Platforms

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

LinkedIn for Business Workshops 2017

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

We will once again be running our  ‘LinkedIn for Business in 2017′ workshop again, taking place at the gorgeous Soho Works in the Tea Building, Shoreditch on Tuesday 16th May 2017 from 9.30am-1pm.

 

“I found the course extremely beneficial and I learned a lot of valuable information that I will be using and applying to both mine and our company profiles” – Dan Herrington, Genuine Solutions

“I found it so interesting! Has definitely kickstarted a new strategy for us” – Isabella Seagrove, Hackett London

“A very insightful LinkedIn workshop” – Roseanna Davies, Mobas Group

This half day workshop will cover both personal profiles, using LinkedIn as a team, and the advertising side.

We’ll be covering the following:

– How to create a killer personal profile (to assist with social-selling) and building your personal network

– Engaging your team to all utilise LinkedIn in a consistent way

– How to develop an engaged company page, including the new 2017 design and features (including content strategy)

– Content: What to post, how frequently, and how to best engage with prospects and build relationships

– Key LinkedIn tools and how they assist with your social selling strategy (Pulse, Groups and CRM Integrations)

– A Guide to LinkedIn Advertising

Our founder Alison Battisby will be instructing the course. She has B2B experience with Fellowes, Michelin  Tyres and Microsoft.

The course will cost £149 plus VAT per person. To book your spot please email info@avocadosocial.com.

Avocado Social Gets #SheMeansBusiness Facebook Accreditation

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

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! 

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. 

Untitled design (4)

How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

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

 

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!

IMG_3900

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.

IMG_3895

 

*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.

Instagram Boosted Posts Coming Soon!

By | Articles, Latest Articles, Social Media News, Social Media Platforms | No Comments

You may have heard that Instagram is set to run boosted posts for businesses and brands, in the same way that its parent company Facebook does. This means that advertisers could soon be able to pay to boost the reach of their posts across the network.  This is great news for small and medium business owners who are looking to increase their exposure to the right audience – which allows them to instantly boost their posts with just a few clicks.

Whilst Instagram has not officially announced it, expert programmers have cracked the platform’s latest code and discovered signs that the social media giant is looking to create a ‘boost post’ functionality. Exciting! photo-1444356751607-31f0fd2714f1

This means that business will be able to advertise in a single click to increase their chances of exposure. It’s a much easier way to advertise for entrepreneurs and small business owners, compared to the current Ads Manager on Facebook. 

Instagram To Focus on Business

The announcement marks the latest development in Instagram’s metamorphosis over the past five years from niche hipster app to social media giant with 500 million monthly users. Its evolution is providing more and more opportunities for advertisers to share their stories and drive action. Alongside rumours of business profiles, Instagram is steadily becoming more and more focused for business

Other updates from Instagram include new in-app analytics which will ensure that advertisers have better control over targeting and budget spend as well as business profiles.

Some have expressed concern that this prospect of paid method of boosting may become the only way to efficiently reach followers, as some businesses found with their pages on Facebook.

According to Tech Crunch, boosted posts will likely be even more in demand as a result of Instagram’s recent algorithm change.

Alison Battisby, Director of Avocado Social said: “It’s really encouraging to see more opportunities for small and medium business owners to expand their reach and presence on Instagram. Instagram is steadily catching up with Facebook in terms of becoming a solid business platform.”

Watch this space!